Health Group Announces Intent to Sue EPA Over Toxic Coal Ash
January 18, 2012
Washington, D.C. - January 18, 2012 - Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) joined
environmental groups in announcing their intent to sue the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) in federal court to force the release of long-awaited
federal safeguards for toxic coal ash.
ash, the waste that remains after utilities burn coal to generate electricity,
contains some of the world’s deadliest toxic metals, including arsenic, chromium, lead, mercury, cadmium and
selenium. These and other toxicants in
coal ash have leaked, leached and spilled into groundwater in states across the
country, in some cases contaminating drinking water.
in coal ash are (or can be) carcinogenic and can damage the intestines, liver,
kidney, lungs, heart, peripheral nervous system and brain.
along with environmental organizations from affected communities across the
country, sent the EPA a notice of intent to sue the Agency under the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The
EPA has procrastinated for nearly two years in producing regulations on coal
ash disposal, despite the requirement under RCRA that it act regularly to
update safeguards to protect human health from these waste products.
doctors and other members presented testimony at EPA hearings last year and
submitted written comments urging the Agency to release a health-protective
coal ash rule. Coal ash is currently deposited
in storage ponds, dump sites and abandoned mines across the country. Well over a hundred storage sites have been
documented to endanger human health or the environment.
EPA’s foot-dragging endangers the health of American communities,” said PSR
executive director Catherine Thomasson, M.D.
“The law is clear that the EPA must act promptly to protect Americans
from this toxic threat. We hope the EPA
will move swiftly to release its safeguards and avoid the necessity of court
toxic threat that coal ash poses to human health is severe,” said Maureen
McCue, M.D., PhD, president of the PSR chapter in Iowa.
“It’s unthinkable that the EPA allows this toxic stew to get into
ABOUT PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL
for Social Responsibility is the largest physician-led organization in the
country conveying both the health risks and threats to human survival posed by toxic
degradation of the environment, climate change, nuclear weapons, and nuclear
reactors. Founded in 1961 by physicians
concerned about the impact of nuclear proliferation, PSR shared the 1985 Nobel
Peace Prize with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War for
building public pressure to end the nuclear arms race. PSR is dedicated to improving national policy
formulation and decision-making about security, energy and the environment
through the combined efforts of credible, committed health professionals and
our active and concerned citizen members.
For more information, go to http://www.psr.org.