Citizens for Recycling First Speak Out at EPA Hearings

            Public hearings on proposed coal ash disposal rules have commenced and Citizens for Recycling First is attending every hearing to support actions that encourage recycling as a safe, environmentally preferable alternative to disposal.

            The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scheduled seven public hearings around the country to gather comments regarding its proposals for regulating coal ash disposal.  At the first two hearings in Washington, DC, and Denver, Colorado, Citizens for Recycling First offered testimony and distributed campaign buttons and brochures to hearing attendees.

            A picture of our campaign button can be seen below, along with the text from our Denver hearing testimony. To download a copy of the brochure, click here:

            Additional EPA hearings will be held during September in Dallas, Charlotte, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Louisville.  If you would like to volunteer to help Citizens for Recycling First at one or more of the hearings, please send a message to

            Here is what we had to say in Denver:

“My name is John Ward and I am chairman of Citizens for Recycling First, an organization of more than 1,500 individuals who believe that the best way to solve coal ash disposal problems is to quit throwing coal ash away.

“In announcing the Agency’s proposed coal ash disposal rule on May 4, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said: "The time has come for common-sense national protections to ensure the safe disposal of coal ash." Citizens for Recycling First agrees with the Administrator.

“Common sense tells us that utilities will be reluctant to allow a material classified as “hazardous waste” on their own property to be distributed for recycling at literally thousands of locations around the countryside.

“Common sense tells us that architects and engineers who are sworn to put human health and safety first will be reluctant to require use of a material that is classified as “hazardous waste” in another location.

“Common sense tells us that users of coal ash will be reluctant to take on the potential liabilities and additional operational requirements that may come with using a material that is classified as “hazardous waste” in another location.

“Common sense tells us that everyday citizens will be greatly alarmed if they find out that a building material used in their homes, schools, offices and roadways is classified as a “hazardous waste” in another location.

“It is a fact that coal ash does not qualify as a hazardous waste based on its toxicity, which is similar to the toxicity of other building materials that it replaces when it is recycled.

“It is also a fact that the landfill engineering standards EPA is proposing are essentially the same under both the Subtitle C “hazardous” and Subtitle D “non-hazardous” regulatory options. Designating coal ash as “hazardous” when destined for disposal does not result in a greater level of protection for the environment.  It does give the federal EPA a clearer path to enforcing its new engineering standards rather than delegating enforcement of EPA’s standards to the states.  But getting that enforcement authority comes at a terrible price – the possible destruction of a recycling industry that greatly benefits our environment.

“Common sense says that risking an entire recycling industry over a regulatory turf battle is a bad idea. Common sense says that new coal ash disposal regulations should be enacted under Subtitle D and EPA should work to promote safe and environmentally beneficial recycling as a preferred alternative to disposal.

“Thank you for this opportunity to comment.”

Posted by: on: Sep 03, 2010 @ 04:15