All the News The New York Times Won’t Print

On January 20, The New York Times published an editorial endorsing a hazardous waste designation for coal ash.  Here’s one of the rebuttals the Times declined to print, this one authored by the president of Headwaters Resources – a leading recycler of coal ash.

            You can read the original Times editorial here:  As Paul Harvey used to say, here is “the rest of the story”:


To the Editor:


                In its January 20, 2010, editorial on the development of new coal ash regulations, The New York Times perpetuates an environmentalist myth that a behind the scenes “industry versus the EPA” dispute is impeding progress.

                In fact, the groups that have very publically opposed EPA’s apparent favored regulatory approach include industry, numerous federal government departments, construction materials standards setting organizations, labor unions, state environmental regulatory agencies, state transportation agencies, governors, state legislators, state public service commissions, chambers of commerce, municipalities, tribal entities, and dozens of members of Congress from both parties.

                What kind of idea can stimulate this level of opposition even before it is formally proposed?  One that says: “If a truck turns left and goes to a landfill, the material in it is hazardous.  If the truck turns right and goes to thousands of job sites including roads, schools and homes it’s not.”

                Our company recycles millions of tons of coal ash every year – keeping it out of landfills and putting it into products where it improves performance and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing of conventional materials.  The EPA and The New York Times are seriously misguided to contend that consumers of coal ash may not care if it's labeled hazardous in some other setting.

                The incident that sparked this debate – the failure of an ash impoundment in Tennessee – was an engineering failure not related to the nature of the material in the impoundment. The spill of a billion gallons of skim milk also would have been an environmental disaster. EPA can improve oversight of ash disposal facilities without stigmatizing the ash itself with a hazardous designation that is not substantiated by the “good science” promised by this Administration and demanded by The New York Times.


William H. Gehrmann


Headwaters Resources Inc.

Posted by: on: Feb 08, 2010 @ 11:23