Senator Boxer Urges Tighter Coal Waste Regulations
by Charles Lemos, Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 09:08:16 PM EST
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.