Tag Archives: coal ash

Urgent. Call Today for Health, Not Coal Ash.

Dear Coal Ally,
We are truly in danger of losing the coal ash fight because of two anti-coal ash amendments tacked onto the U.S. House  of Representatives budget legislation which is being considered in Congress this morning.  We anticipate that the first amendment (No. 10) will be on the floor THIS AFTERNOON.
These two amendments, Amendment 10 offered by Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Amendment 217 offered by David McKinley (R-WV), are nearly identical and would prevent EPA from regulating dangerous coal ash as hazardous waste. 

 EPA’s only option would be to issue guidelines for states that not mandatory and that are unenforceable by EPA.  The amendments would maintain the status quo of lax (or absent) state oversight of coal ash dumping and would guarantee that polluters will have the legal right to continue to dump coal ash in unlined pits and ponds. 
Thus, we are asking you and the members of your organization to call their representatives in Congress TODAY- ASAP- and ASK THEM TO VOTE NO ON AMENDMENTS 10  AND  217.  Time is of the essence.  PLEASE SEND this email to the members of your organization to maximize our impact.
Your calls will make a difference.  Even if we lose in the House, if the margin is not great, we may be able to defeat the amendment in the Senate.
Calling is simple: Locate the telephone number of your member of Congress by using the link below – just insert your zip code.
THANK YOU for your help at this critical time.
Sincerely,  Ilan Levin, Environmental Integrity Project

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Red Sludge, Grey Sludge-Same Problem

On Tuesday afternoon, a flood of toxic red sludge engulfed several towns in southwestern Hungary. An estimated 185 million gallons were spilled when a storage tank for the sludge, a byproduct of aluminum production, burst and sent the sludge gushing into the surrounding area. Houses and streets were flooded, cars swept away, and four people lost their lives with more than 120 others injured by burns from contact with the highly alkaline substance.

Efforts to clean up the red sludge

The environmental consequence might be even more devastating. By the time it was all said and done, more than 16 square miles of farmland and countryside were buried beneath the toxic mess, and experts are worried the environmental effects will be devastating for a much larger area. Fish and wildlife in local streams have already been killed, and officials fear the sludge will be carried downstream, polluting the Danube River and affecting at least four other countries in addition to Hungary.

While red sludge is regulated by the European Union, it is not considered hazardous waste in all cases. Similarly, red sludge is not a toxic or carcinogenic substance under United States Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

Does this situation sound familiar? It should.

In December 2008, a spill of similar magnitude destroyed a Tennessee community. The culprit that time—coal ash. Since then, through the efforts of the Sierra Club and environmental organizations across the county, Americans have begun to realize of the dangers of coal ash. Stored in huge, often unlined pits, toxins from coal ash such as lead, mercury, and arsenic can seep into ground water, ruin soil, and, in the case of the Tennessee accident, destroy entire communities and ecosystems.

Tennessee Coal Ash Spill

While we cannot do much about the tragedy in Hungary, we can do something to combat the exact same problems that exist here at home, across the nation, and perhaps in your backyard. Responding to these frightening realities, the EPA has initiated a series of hearings across the nation to receive public input in the decision to bring coal ash under federal regulation as a toxic waste. The EPA’s open comment period regarding regulation of coal ash has been extended to November 19. Visit www.regulations.gov and referenceEPA-HQ-RCRA-2009-0640” to make your voice heard. You can also take further action and learn more about the perils of coal by visiting the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal website: http://www.sierraclub.org/coal/default.aspx.

Live from the EPA Hearing in Dallas

We’ve got pictures at the bottom of the post!

9:20 Good morning everybody! We’ve been up for a while preparing… our executive director Michael Brune is here, ready to rumble, along with the mighty delegations from Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and of course from all around the great state of Texas.

9:30 Brief interview with a concerned Louisianan. Yet another quick interview, with some even more awesome folks from Louisiana! Are they the greatest team of coalfighters you’ve ever met? We report, you decide. Seriously.

9:45 Best poster of the day! Kiss her Coal Ash!

11:00 Press conference with Executive Director Mike Brune, pediatrician Karen Lewis, Director of Public Citizen Texas Tom “Smitty” Smith, State Representative Jessica Farrar (Houston) and others… pictures on the Twitter feed!

11:10 Some early footage of the press conference (a little fuzzy, apologies!)

11:20 Karen Lewis, MD talks about the health effects of coal ash.

11:15 State Representative Jessica Farrar of Houston explains why she supports strong coal ash regulation.

12:00 Lunch panel starting in 15 minutes, the best Q and A on coal ash you’ve ever heard!

1:00 We’ve got pictures of the panel at the bottom of the post, and folks enjoying the Sierra Club snack room as well.

1:30 Corpus Christi legend Hal Suter prepares for his testimony.  Listen to his fantastic comments on the TCEQ’s willingness (or unwillingness) to regulate the coal industry here.

2:00 Ladies lay down the coal ash law!  Check out what they’ve got to say in this clip right here.

2:10 Another Texan here to regulate coal ash. Heck yes.

2:30 Pick up your coal ash mess, gosh darn it!

2:49 Katie from Dallas reppin’ Texas Campaign for the Environment.  She is not a fan of coal ash.

3:09 Updated pictures of all the action. Check out our gallery, it’s almost like you’re there, isn’t it?

3:32 ED Mike Brune: “It’s been an inspiring day, seeing so many people from the region taking action to protect their air, their water, their health.”

3:49 Susan from Oklahoma City came all the way to Dallas to tell the EPA what’s what with coal ash regulation.

4:05 Smitty from Public Citizen, to the rescue!

4:21 A student from Louisiana, representing all the people who couldn’t be here today.

4:32 This guy rode 1800 miles from Arkansas to Dallas- just to give his testimony at the coal ash hearing!

5:15 Shondra from Houston and her thoughts on coal ash. In her spare time, she’s shutting down the White Stallion coal plant in Bay City.

5:30 We are tired. We are hungry. But we are still cranking out the Strong Rule testimony!

5:48 Doctor Randy Smith, President of Texas Impact, talks about being a good steward of the land, and respecting the earth that God has entrusted to us.

6:13 Bokoshe, Oklahoma residents talk about how the hearing is going. We’re screening the Bokoshe film in fifteen minutes.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you should.

7:57 Just finished some powerful closing events.  We watched “In the Air we Breathe”, about Bokoshe, Oklahoma, and the stars of the film were there to take questions.  Check out the pictures to get a sense of what went on…

8:00 We’ve still got people filtering in to give their testimony!  It’s not over yet!

8:15 Louisiana delegation relaxing with some interesting techniques.  Check out pictures of them playing “ninja” and working out a human knot (it’s been a long day).

8:52 Alright, we are shutting down the shop! It’s time for a hurricane party at the Hyatt Regency… good luck to the folks at the rest of the hearings!

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