Stressing Conservation at Louisville Coal Ash Public Hearing

            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. At the most recent hearing in Louisville, we urged the EPA to remember its role in promoting conservation.

            The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scheduled eight day-long public hearings around the country to gather comments regarding its proposals for regulating coal ash disposal.  At the first seven hearings in Washington, DC, Denver, Dallas, Charlotte, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Louisville, 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 Louisville hearing testimony. To download a copy of the brochure, click here:

            One more EPA hearing will be held in Knoxville on October 27.  If you would like to volunteer to help Citizens for Recycling First at the hearing, please send a message to

            Here is what we had to say in Louisville:

“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.

“I have attended all of the EPA public hearings on coal ash disposal so far and have listened as many people have challenged you to "get tough" with coal ash and inflict the most draconian regulations possible.  Today, I would like to give you a different challenge -- the challenge to do the best thing for the environment.

“The proposed regulations we are talking about today are under the authority of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The EPA office conducting these hearings has Conservation and Recovery in its name.  Unfortunately, there is little or no focus on Conservation and Recovery in this regulatory proposal or by this Administration's EPA in general.

“Previous EPAs under both Democrat and Republican administrations have concluded that coal ash does not warrant regulation as a hazardous waste.  Furthermore, EPAs under both Democrat and Republican administrations previously worked to put conservation and recovery first through programs like Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines and the Coal Combustion Products Partnership, also known as the C2P2 program.  All of these efforts recognized that coal ash is a valuable resource that can be recovered and used rather than disposed in landfills and impoundments, a handful of which performed inadequately and brought us here today.

“EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has called for ‘common sense’ coal ash disposal regulations.  Common sense says it's better to safely use something instead of throwing it away. Common sense says it's better to conserve natural resources by using a recovered material rather than mining or manufacturing new ones. Common sense says conserving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by millions of tons each year are environmental benefits worth protecting.  And common sense says people will not want to use a material on their own property if it is considered ‘hazardous waste’ on the property of the person who made it.

“For those who want to saddle coal ash with a hazardous waste label, here are some inconvenient truths:  Coal ash does not qualify as a hazardous waste based on its toxicity and its toxicity is similar to that of the materials it replaces when it is recycled.  The landfill engineering standards being proposed by EPA are essentially the same under both EPA's hazardous and non-hazardous approaches, so you're not giving the environment more protection with a hazardous label.  Finally, EPA's non-hazardous approach can be implemented years sooner -- getting greater protection for our environment now instead of later.

“Common sense and the spirit of conservation demand the Subtitle D non-hazardous approach. It will improve coal ash disposal standards faster and do it without destroying recycling efforts with an unnecessary ‘hazardous’ stigma.”

Posted by: on: Sep 28, 2010 @ 03:29