Hundreds of coal power plants burn close to a billion tons of coal every year, and the toxic byproduct—coal ash—that ends up in our air and water supply has been linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke and brain damage.
Representing communities burdened with coal ash contamination, Earthjustice won a long court battle to secure the first-ever federal safeguards for coal ash dumps. But now Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency could nix these hard-won protections.
Nostalgic for the days when they could dump coal ash wherever and however they pleased, industrial polluters asked the Trump EPA to roll back these hard-fought safeguards. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt eagerly answered those requests by proposing a new rule that guts these critical new protections for the nation’s coal ash dumps.
The protections that Pruitt is proposing to remove include commonsense safeguards that require industry to handle its mess in a transparent, responsible and safe manner.
Communities near these dangerous dumps deserve to know if massive coal ash lagoons are leaking toxic chemicals, are being regularly inspected, and are structurally sound or in a condition that could lead to a catastrophic event. If leaks or spills occur, the public should be notified and immediate cleanup required. Under the coal ash rule Earthjustice helped secure, fugitive toxic dust is no longer allowed to plague nearby communities, and owners of coal ash dumps must demonstrate that they are safe or close them. Owners must also ensure that hazardous chemical leaks no longer threaten water sources and nearby communities.
Polluters got a free pass for far too long, and have endangered far too many lives already. They have no business standing in the way of fundamental, commonsense, life-saving protections.
We will fight the polluters in court, but we need you to let the EPA know that rolling back the coal ash rule is unconscionable and unacceptable. Tell the EPA that its job is to protect our communities, not wealthy polluters.