The Environmental Integrity Project, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Clean Air Task Force, and more than 100 other environmental policy groups including Knoxville-based Southern Alliance for Clean Energy have signed a joint letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging regulation of coal combustion waste byproducts including fly ash. The joint letter cites the Kingston coal ash spill disaster and the ongoing threat posed by "nearly a hundred million tons of toxic coal ash and related CCW dumped in ponds, pits and mines across the United States every year without federal regulation."
The joint letter states: "The disaster at TVA's Kingston plant dramatized the need for federal standards for safe disposal of these wastes, which are virtually unregulated by the EPA. After eight years of counterproductive backpedaling, we are confident that you will chart a new, responsible course for the Agency by supporting the adoption of standards, whether reflected in legislation or new regulations, that reflect the gravity of the situation and are guided by a consistent set of principles."
Noting that the "evidence is now in," the joint letter points out a coalition of 125 environmental groups petitioned the Agency five years ago to commence regulatory proceedings to stop disposal of coal ash in water, including in the kind of wet "surface impoundment" that gave way in Kingston.
In related news, the TVA corrective action plan filed with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation says the Kingston disaster likely spells the end for wet storage of fly ash. The Knoxville News Sentinel files this report.
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