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Protect us from dirty coal ash

Action needed by 31, 2011

The Senate has introduced S.1751, a bad bill that follows H.R.2273, which passed the House a few weeks ago. Coal ash activists from Fairbanks were in Washington DC last week urging their senators to oppose this terrible legislation and they are reporting back some very positive meetings. Senators Begich and Murkowski need to hear from constituents that we need to safeguard communities from haphazard handling and disposal of coal ash in interior Alaska.
 
Please join us on Wednesday, Nov. 9 for a National Coal Ash Call In Day, to flood the U.S. Senate with phone calls from our supporters urging opposition to S.1751. Attached is some sample language that Earthjustice will be using in an action alert to our supporters. Please feel free to adapt any or all of this language for your own Action alerts to your supporters to encourage them to call their Senators. 
 
S.1751 will prevent EPA from ever regulating coal combustion waste regardless of how voluminous or toxic this waste becomes.  Regulation of electric arc furnace dust in the steel industry and used oil under Subtitle C of RCRA has greatly increased their recycling.  Regulation of gasoline, nail polish remover, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and flashlight batteries under Subtitle C has not hurt their use.  Likewise EPA’s proposed coal ash regulation will encourage coal ash to be recycled and reused far more than it ever has been because generators will seek to avoid the cost of disposal standards.  In fact, S.1751 will destroy coal ash recycling jobs by allowing states to continue to dump coal ash in ponds which ruins it for use in cement, concrete, grout, bricks and other safer forms of recycling. 

Take Action:

 

Please contact your Senator (or their staff person below) at the following number:  

Sen. Mark Begich  –  

Michael Johnson,  Michael_johnson@begich.senate.gov  202-224-3004 

Sen. Lisa A. Murkowski  - 

Robert Dillon,  Robert_Dillon@murkowski.senate.gov   202-224-6665

 

Ask them to put the drinking water of their constituents ahead of outrageous, self-serving, and unsubstantiated claims about stigmas that ash regulations will cause for recycling.  Ask them to let EPA do its job to develop minimum, common sense safeguards in regulations for states to meet that protect human health and the environment at coal ash sites.  For more information on S.1751, see the attached fact sheet.  Please distribute this widely and urge as many others to act on it as possible.   We must be heard NOW!

More Information:

You can find more information about S.1751 here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
 
Some talking points to mention in your phone calls to your senators include:
  • S.1751 endangers the health and safety of thousands of communities: it will prevent the EPA from ever revisiting a federal coal ash rule even if it is found that coal ash dumps pose an even greater threat.
  • S.1751 is a dangerous bill: it would allow the construction of coal ash dumps that don’t meet drinking water standards for arsenic, lead and other pollutants.
  • S.1751 will cost American jobs: A recent study by a Tufts University senior economist found that strong coal ash regulations, such as the one proposed by the EPA in 2010, would generate 28,000 jobs annually.
  • S.1751 will hurt recycling: once coal ash is dumped into water, which this bill would allow by permitting the construction of new coal ash ponds, it cannot be recycled.
  • S.1751 fails to address the current threat: this bill will not phase out dangerous ash ponds or prevent another tragedy like the coal ash spill in Tennessee in 2008.
  • Coal ash is hazardous to our health: the cancer risk from drinking water contaminated by arsenic near some coal ash ponds is 1 in 50, which is 2,000 times greater than the EPA’s acceptable risk level
  • Coal ash is a national problem: it is the second largest industrial waste stream in the U.S.
     
     

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