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EIP, EARTHJUSTICE, NRDC, AND SIERRA CLUB: DISAPPOINTED WITH EPA DELAY ON COAL ASH RULE, URGE AGENCY ACTION IN JANUARY 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.///December 17, 2009///The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Sierra Club issued the following joint statement today:

“We are disappointed that the Environmental Protection Agency will be unable to keep its promise to propose new standards for the safe disposal of coal ash by the end of this year. But we appreciate EPA Administrator Jackson's continued commitment to a rule that will protect our groundwater and our rivers from toxic runoff from coal ash and other coal combustion wastes. We hope to see the Agency's proposal, which is many years overdue, out for public comment in January.

Not surprisingly, the coal-fired utilities' lobbyists have mounted a disinformation campaign designed to minimize or hide hazards from ash dumpsites that are virtually unregulated today. But any reasonable review of the facts demonstrates that the lack of safeguards has led to contamination of drinking water wells, creeks, and wetlands, and the buildup of toxic chemicals in fish and other aquatic organisms. The same coal and utility lobbyists that have fought every law that has made our environment healthier and safer will once again make the same arguments they used to fight enforcement of the Clean Air Act. These threats have proven to be hollow in the past and ought not to be taken seriously today. Coal-fired power plants cannot be allowed to continue contaminating our drinking water or dumping toxic pollutants in our rivers.

The Obama Administration has pledged to let law and science guide its environmental decisions, not the arm twisting of industry lobbyists. That is a promise President Obama must keep.”

CONTACT: Jeff Stant, EIP 317-359-1306 (office), or 317-331-3607 (cell) and jstant@environmentalintegrity.org; Lisa Evans, Earthjustice, 781-631-4119 and levans@earthjustice.org; Jared Saylor, Earthjustice, 202-667-4500, ext. 213 (office) or 202-236-5855 (cell) and jsaylor@earthjustice.org; Scott Slesinger, NRDC, 202-289-2402 (office) and sslesinger@nrdc.org; and Virginia Cramer, Sierra Club, 804-225-9113 ext. 102 (office) and virginia.cramer@sierraclub.org.