National Call-In Day for Strong Water Protections
You can help protect our water! In less than 30 days the U.S EPA will finalize the first-ever federal regulations for the disposal of coal ash. Pick up the phone today and join EJC and other organizations across the country as we call on President Obama to support strong environmental protections from coal ash
Coal ash, the waste left over from burning coal, is the second largest industrial waste stream in the United States. Coal ash contains arsenic, lead, mercury, chromium, and a range of harmful heavy metals and toxic pollutants that poison the air and contaminate drinking water supplies.
Did you know that Illinois has over 90 coal ash pits, and generates 4.4 million tons of coal ash each year? Most of the state’s coal ash is dumped in wet impoundments at power plants that hold millions of gallons of coal ash sludge, and discharge coal pollution to nearby rivers and lakes. Most of these impoundments are not equipped with liners to contain waste and prevent groundwater pollution. And groundwater was found to be contaminated by the Illinois EPA in 2009 at every single site tested.
Communities at Risk
Coal ash disasters have been plaguing communities living near the dangerous dump sites from the 2008 disaster in Tennessee, when a billion gallons of toxic sludge poured onto farmland and into the Emory and Clinch rivers, to the recent failure along North Carolina’s Dan River, when a burst storm water pipe underneath an unlined coal ash pit dumped 39,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated wastewater into the river. Coal ash currently threatens the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, Illinois’ only National Wild and Scenic River, because Dynegy’s pits were located in the river’s floodplain or over subterranean mine voids. The river is eroding the banks of these pits, and questions regarding their stability have been raised by local groups. Watch the video to learn more.
Coal ash pollution is getting worse and more dangerous every day, and there are no federal protections. Now is the time for the Obama administration to stand up and protect the many citizens living in the shadows of these dangerous and contaminated dump sites!
You can help. Call the comment line at the White House at 1-202-456-1111, and leave your comment of support for a strong coal ash rule. Here’s a sample script for you to use:
Hello. My name is [Full Name] from [City and State]. I respectfully request that President Obama finalize strong safeguards by the end of this year that truly protect the health and environment of all American communities threatened by coal ash.
Optional Talking Points (if you’d like to add them):
- The rule must close and clean up legacy dumps, provide the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with enforcement authority, establish clearly defined deadlines and transparent processes for cleanups, end all wet disposal, make publicly available groundwater monitoring data and inspections, protect the public from dangerous reuse of ash, and allow for full public participation in permitting processes.
- Now is the time for your administration to stand up and protect the many citizens living in the shadows of these dangerous and contaminated sites. I ask that the President finalize strong federal protections this year for coal ash pollution to not only prevent the next big disaster, but to stop the slow poisoning of American communities.
- Coal ash threatens the respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological systems of people living near more than 1400 dump sites across the nation. Over 1.5 million children live near coal ash storage sites and 70 percent of all coal ash lagoons disproportionately impact low-income communities.