Senate to Take Up Dirty Coal Ash Bill

S.B. 1751 is a give-away to the coal industry that guarantees toxic coal ash dumps will have fewer safeguards than household garbage forever.

Illinois at Risk CoverCross posting by Brian Perbix, Prairie Rivers Network and Heartland Coalfield Alliance, November 6, 2011


Your Senator needs to hear from you now as the Senate prepares to move on a bill that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to protect the health and environmental integrity of coalfield communities from toxic coal ash dumps.

Over a year ago, EPA proposed improved rules for how to store and dispose of harmful coal ash in response to the more than 100 known coal ash contamination cases in the U.S. Over 450,000 public comments were received – more than had ever been received for any other proposed regulation. Despite the overwhelming public outcry for protection from mismanagement of coal ash at the state level, as part of the War on Water some Congressional Representatives have advanced a bill that would prevent EPA from finishing the process of proposing commonsense safeguards to limit coal ash pollution. H.R. 2273 passed out of the House in October, and companion legislation has now been drafted in the Senate.

Please take a moment to call NOW and ask your Senator to Vote No on S.B. 1751! Find your Senator here.

Talking points include:

1) VOTE NO on S.B. 1751!

2) Let EPA use its expertise, public feedback and the best science to decide how to regulate coal ash – without interference by Congress or special interest groups that have donated millions to anti-EPA campaigns.

3) Improper management of coal ash in Illinois has earned us the distinction of having the second highest number of documented coal-ash damage sites of any state in the U.S.

4) The public is at risk. Despite its hazardous characteristics, coal ash is not subject to federal regulations, and state laws governing coal ash disposal in Illinois are weak.

5) Coal ash is toxic. Coal ash, the by-product of burning coal, contains toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead and mercury. The public health and environmental hazards from unsafe coal ash dumping have been known for many years, including increased risk of cancer, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, birth defects, reproductive failure, asthma and other sicknesses.

As demonstrated by yet another coal ash spill last week –  this time sending coal ash into Lake Michigan – strong, federally enforceable, common-sense safeguards for coal ash are needed now more than ever.

Eco-Justice Collaborative is a founding member of Heartland Coalfield Alliance.

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