Senator Boxer Urges Tighter Coal Waste Regulations

In the wake of the massive east Tennessee toxic coal sludge spill, Senator Barbara Boxer held hearings this week looking into the issue of tightening of Federal coal waste regulations. The Clinton EPA in 2000 opted not to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste. According to the McClatchy News Service"the nation's hundreds of coal ash dumps contain millions of pounds of toxic metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury and chromium, which can cause cancer or damage the nervous system and lungs and other organs if people ingest them." The EPA has left regulation up to the states, but it's been debating whether to set national standards. Senator Boxer now thinks it is time to consider enacting national standards.

"For nearly three decades, EPA has been looking the issue of how to regulate combustion waste," Boxer said. "The federal government has the power to regulate these wastes, and inaction has allowed this enormous volume of toxic material to go largely unregulated."

However, she said she hoped the EPA would decide to regulate coal ash soon. Boxer said she planned to ask Lisa Jackson, President-elect Barack Obama's nominee to head the EPA, whether she agrees on the need for federal regulation at her confirmation hearings.

It's almost surreal to see government in action, after the lapse of the last eight years.

Tags: Coal Industry, East Tennessee Sludge Spill, EPA, Senator Barbara Boxer (all tags)

Comments

3 Comments

federal action is needed

because state agencies and legislatures lack the political will to take on major employers and industries in their states.

Iowa is a recent case in point. The state DNR shelved new coal ash disposal rules after industry complained they would be too expensive:

http://www.bleedingheartland.com/showDia ry.do?diaryId=2370

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-10 04:27AM | 0 recs
Funny

Looks like we've had government inaction for more than just eight years.  As your story notes, it was the Clinton Administration that decided not to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste.

Administrations of both parties have been buns up kneeling to industry for decades.

In fact, I can think of no clearer exercise in seeing just how corrupt our government is, and how dominated it is by the special interests of business, than to read that part of the Code of Federal Regulations that specifies what qualifies -- and especially what does not qualify -- as hazardous waste.

by kaleidescope 2009-01-10 04:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Funny

Agreed. One too many Democrats have bought into the mantra of "limited government."

by Charles Lemos 2009-01-10 01:11PM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads