This opinion piece was written for Earthjustice and is reprinted here with permission.
Okay, so we’ve established the hazards of coal ash. There is no doubt that arsenic, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, selenium and other toxic metals have no business in our drinking water. So why are 44 of our elected leaders calling on the Obama administration to treat coal ash as a NON-hazardous waste?
If you didn’t know better, reading parts of the letter to the White House may have you think that these elected leaders understand that coal ash should be kept away from the public:
The release of (coal ash) from the Tennessee Valley Authority impoundment in December 2008 properly caused the EPA to consider whether (coal ash) impoundments and landfills should meet more stringent standards. All operators should meet appropriate standards, and those who fail to do so should be held responsible.
We believe regulation of (coal ash) under subtitle D will ensure proper design and operations standards in all states where (coal ash) are disposed.
Among the Dems who signed the letter are senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Max Baucus, (D-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mark Warner (D-VA).
(Here is a letter that 104 organizations sent to the Hill to ask senators to refrain from joining the ruckus.)
It’s terrible that instead of protecting our public health, these politicians are standing in its way. Shame on all of these senators for throwing clean water under the bus to protect industry polluters.
As this coal ash rule is mired in the politics of Washington, communities across the country bear the burden of living near these toxic sites. When will their elected leaders realize their constituents’ right to clean water?