September 15, 2009
Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102
EPA to Limit Toxic Coal Waste
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it plans to issue new standards to better protect America’s waters from coal plant pollution. The announcement comes a day after environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project and Defenders of Wildlife, put the EPA on notice for the agency’s 26-year delay in updating coal pollution regulations.
Pollution from coal plants is becoming increasingly toxic as more pollutants are taken out of the air, only to then be transferred to coal ash and other coal waste discharges. These toxic discharges can contaminate drinking water and pose serious threats to fish and other wildlife.
In response, Mary Anne Hitt, Deputy Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign issued the following statement.
"It is heartening to see Lisa Jackson and the EPA taking a serious interest in the post-burning dangers of coal. As we saw in Tennessee last year, and was reaffirmed by the EPA’s own study, coal ash and other coal wastes pose significant risks to communities across the U.S.
"EPA has recognized that the current regulations are simply not up to the task of adequately protecting public health and the environment from toxic coal wastes. Now what we need is action. Both the science and the risk of inaction are clear. New, more protective rules are badly overdue and it is time for EPA to set a deadline for putting those regulations in place."