Wednesday, April 25, 2018

VIDEO: Demanding that EPA keep coal ash regulations in place

Yesterday, the EPA held a hearing on the Trump Administration's proposal to roll back Obama-era regulations on coal ash. My testimony is below.

One of the four large Chesapeake Bay watershed coal ash deposits is in Dumfries, Virginia in the 36th District. All four sites are leaking toxic heavy metals into groundwater and drinking water in the surrounding communities. I have introduced 10 bills to deal with the coal ash problem in Virginia and met with moderate success. Last year, my bill to require Dominion to study alternatives for dealing with the coal ash resulted in this report:

Coal Combustion Residuals Ash Pond Closure Assessment (November, 2017)

This year, my one successful bill maintained the moratorium on capping these coal ash deposits in place and required Dominion to research the option for recycling the ash and bring back quotes for the material to justify their findings. Other bills I introduced are going to a study committee this summer to be tweaked for next year.

While we are making progress in Virginia, we need to keep an eye on the federal regulations. EPA has proposed to:
  • Allow operators of coal ash ponds and landfills to write their own standards
  • Make cleanup of contamination discretionary (i.e., let polluters do nothing)
  • Eliminate the requirement that leaking ponds install liners or close
  • Give polluters extra time to close ponds and landfills located in unsafe areas and eliminate the strict location prohibitions entirely
  • Allow political appointees, instead of professional engineers, to decide if a cleanup is adequate or even required.
I testified to the EPA that we need recycled coal ash product here in Virginia to make concrete and bricks. Currently, we are importing ash from overseas. Instead of making it easier for utility companies to bury coal ash in the ground, EPA should focus on creating incentives to recycle the ash.

Please watch the video above and submit your own comments to the EPA before April 30 by CLICKING HERE.

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