Bloomberg Gives $50 Million to Group Pushing ‘Hazardous’ Designation for Coal Ash

            A Sierra Club program that lobbies for a “hazardous waste” designation for coal ash is getting a $50 million boost to its budget courtesy of a personal contribution by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The contribution will allow the Sierra Club to double the size of its “Beyond Coal” program staff from 100 to 200 full-time employees.

            (Citizens for Recycling First has one part-time employee and has not attracted any multi-million dollar contributions.)

            In public hearings and news media articles, the Sierra Club and other anti-coal environmental activists have attempted to portray themselves as Davids battling industry Goliaths. In reality, the environmentalists have spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying for a coal ash “hazardous waste” designation that would seriously damage efforts to recycle the resource.  (For another example of the Sierra Club’s coal ash tactics, look here. For a Washington Post article on Mayor Bloomberg’s contribution, look here.

            During public hearings last year on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulations for coal ash disposal, representatives of the Sierra Club testified that they support environmentally responsible recycling of coal ash – a practice that keeps ash out of landfills, conserves natural resources and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.  However, a review of the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” web site shows that the group does not even tell its members that coal ash recycling is possible. Furthermore, almost every reference to coal ash is preceded by the words “dangerous” or “toxic” – misleading and inaccurate terms that are damaging efforts to recycle coal ash today.

            Mayor Bloomberg – a financial industry tycoon who is the 13th richest person in America – is certainly entitled to donate his money to whatever causes he believes in.  But let’s at least call the Sierra Club’s attacks on coal ash what they are: Big Business.

Posted by: on: Jul 28, 2011 @ 08:48