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EPA Public Hearings Continue and We Are Speaking Out

            Citizens for Recycling First continues to attend every EPA coal ash public 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 three hearings in Washington, DC, Denver, and Dallas, 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 Dallas hearing testimony. To download a copy of the brochure, click here: http://www.recyclingfirst.org/pdfs/53.pdf

            Additional EPA hearings will be held during September in 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 info@recyclingfirst.org

            Here is what we had to say in Dallas:

“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 solution for coal ash disposal problems is to quit throwing coal ash away. Thank you for this opportunity to provide comments to the Agency and for the opportunity to interact with others who are concerned about regulations for coal ash disposal.

“At the first two public hearings in Washington DC and Denver, I've had numerous conversations with people who belong to organizations that are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. Most of these people had no idea that coal ash is used to replace portland cement in the production of concrete – an activity that reduces greenhouse gas emissions from cement production by more than 12 million tons every year.

“It's not surprising that people do not know this. The major environmental activist organizations that favor a hazardous waste designation for coal ash never mention that ash can be recycled safely with tremendous benefits for the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency has further contributed to this lack of understanding by removing its Coal Combustion Products Partnership web site from the Internet just when the need for information about coal ash recycling is at its greatest.

“Many people in this room would like to see the use of coal disappear altogether. However worthy that goal is, it will not happen overnight. Nearly half of America's electricity is generated by burning coal and Americans keep using more electricity every day. Like it or not, coal will continue to be burned in significant quantities for many years to come. So the question remains: What should we do with the ash that is left over?

“Recycling coal ash keeps it out of landfills and ponds where it can cause the kinds of problems we will hear much about during today's hearing. Recycling it in applications such as concrete production produces additional benefits like greenhouse gas emissions reductions that are important to almost everyone in this room.

“The two regulatory options before us for comment today -- the Subtitle C "hazardous" approach and the Subtitle D "non-hazardous" approach -- both propose new landfill engineering standards that are essentially the same. Landfills won't be any stronger or better under Subtitle C, but coal ash recyclers will be saddled with a hazardous waste stigma that will make continued recycling of this resource difficult or impossible.

“For those who deny the existence of stigma, I would ask just two questions. First, if the EPA is right and a hazardous waste designation would motivate people to recycle more ash, then why are the people who make their livings as recyclers unanimously opposed to it? Wouldn't they be in favor of something that would help them make more money? Perhaps it is because the people who recycle ash every day are well aware of the response you and your neighbors would give to the second question: Would you want something that is classified as a hazardous waste in your home, school or workplace?

“The EPA should enact tougher coal ash disposal regulations. But it should do so without unnecessarily classifying coal ash as a hazardous waste and risking the destruction of a recycling effort that helps accomplish everyone's goal of a cleaner environment.”

 


Posted by: on: Sep 08, 2010 @ 01:52