Who Gets to Be a “Citizen?”

            Isn’t it funny how “special interest groups” always seem to be up to no good while “citizen groups” seem to have truth and honorable intentions on their side?  At least that’s the connotation.

            Interesting then, how an official of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chose to label the opinions of various parties who have been commenting on the outlook for new coal ash regulations. In a presentation for an Air and Waste Management Webinar on December 10, 2009, Robert Dellinger, Director of EPA’s Materials Recovery and Waste Management Division, summarized “Positions of Outside Groups.”

            Three groups were listed as opposed to any “hazardous” designation for coal ash – States, Federal Agencies, and Industry.  But “Citizen Groups” were listed as supporting full hazardous waste regulation.

            In reality, these “Citizen Groups” are almost all – if not exclusively – environmental special interest groups that actively lobby against coal use.  This doesn’t make them any less citizens, of course.  But are they more citizens than the small business people, chambers of commerce, city councils, professional engineers, and many others who have written to EPA in opposition to a hazardous designation?  EPA appears to be ignoring these citizens, or is at least content to toss them into the category of “Industry.”

            People who recycle coal ash in safe and environmentally beneficial ways are also people who vote, pay taxes, participate in their communities and care about the environment.  They also deserve to be afforded the title “Citizens.”


"Citizens" -- according to the EPA...

Posted by: on: Feb 02, 2010 @ 06:24