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PSR Assails Health Risks from Coal Ash

December 14, 2010

In 2010, PSR joined the fight for safe regulation of coal ash.  Coal ash, the toxics-laden waste that remains after coal is burned, is stored in ponds and dumps across the US.  With the EPA considering whether to establish nationwide regulations for safe storage, PSR weighed in across the country.

PSR wrote and distributed a review of the threats to health posed by coal ash toxicants and their unsafe storage areas.  Coal Ash, The Toxic Threat to our Health and Environment was widely cited in the public hearings on coal ash the EPA organized in eight cities. 

PSR mobilized national staff, chapter leaders and board members to testify at six of those hearings, where we championed the establishment of uniform, health-protective regulations on coal ash.  PSR was the only group consistently raising the “health voice” at those hearings.

PSR members also submitted over 2,800 comments to the EPA docket, calling for the phase-out of wet coal ash storage and for consistent regulation of coal ash in all states.
 
Environment and Health deputy director Barbara Gottlieb, lead author of the report, briefed EPA staff on the report’s findings, highlighting shortcomings in the methods used by the EPA to assess coal ash toxicity.  She also conducted radio interviews on coal ash in 15 cities, including “coal country” locales such as Johnstown, PA, Knoxville, TN and Charleston, WV.

She also presented via teleconference to the “Coming Clean” coalition, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, and the Kentucky Environmental Foundation. 

The public comments period on coal ash has now closed, and the EPA is reviewing the extensive public input as it finalizes its decision on how to regulate this dangerous waste material.

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