It has been five years since the coal ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee, when a billion gallons of toxic sludge poured onto farmland and into the Emory and Clinch rivers. And just this month, the people of Eden, North Carolina watched as millions of gallons of coal ash and contaminated water flooded the Dan River -- a spill that will take weeks to clean up.
The EPA must move forward with a strong safeguard against coal ash -- one that ensures no more coal ash ponds like this are built in the future, and also cleans up and closes the existing ones.
Along with all 2.1 million Sierra Club members and supporters, I call on you to finalize robust rules both under the Clean Water Act and under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to deal with the dangerous water pollution from coal plants, like coal ash. These rules must be finalized by the end of this year, and must reject weak options in favor of strong and federally enforceable measures.
Ash from coal-burning power plants is full of toxic heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury -- and coal companies just dump it in pits and ponds with no plan for safe disposal or cleanup.