Appalachia is locked into polluted water, and the EPA has the key
Join Us - June 4, 12:00 noon to 1pm
EPA Region 3 Headquarters at 17th & Arch in Philadelphia
While coal extracted from the mountains helps to keep our houses warm and the lights on, it has a more insidious affect on the people that live down stream of mining waste. Ground water and streams are contaminated with metals that have long term effects on people and wildlife.
Coal companies need to be held accountable for the pollution it generates and monitored to make sure they abide by the rules and regulations of the Clean Water and Air Acts. The Virginia and West Virginia Departments of Environmental Protection are tasked with enforcing these rules, but often state agencies are not up to the task, or have a conflict of interest when trying to accommodate economic growth while protecting natural resources.
That's where the EPA comes in. The EPA needs to oversee state agencies and assist in the permitting process to put an end to cycle of surface mining and water pollution.
Tell the EPA to stand up to coal companies and state agencies. WE WILL STAND WITH YOU!
Philadelphia is home to the region 3 headquarters of the EPA, which is responsible for all of Virginia and West Virginia. We are helping to give a voice to the people of Appalachia.
Our next action is a rally at the EPA office in Philadelphia on June 4. To join the Phila/MTR action team, contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org
State Regulators are NOT protecting their Citizens:
- Much of Kentucky’s coal ash is dumped into unlined ponds or pits, located close to waterways. Toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies.
- As of August 2011 regulators had inspected only 28% of Kentucky’s coal ash dams in the last 5 years.
- Kentucky fails to protect the public from coal ash by imposing basic safeguards at coal ash dumps.
- North Carolina law does not require the power companies to clean up the toxic pollutants until it extends far beyond the boundary of the coal ash pond and reaches an arbitrarily identified “compliance boundary”
- The head of the North Carolina environmental agency spent 28 years working for Duke Energy -- responsible for both slurry spills -- before being appointed by Governor Pat McCrory. Duke Energy contributed $1.1 million to McCrory’s campaigns and groups that supported him.
- Pennsylvania has a strong framework for protecting water resources from mining, but the administration and implementation of those laws and regulations is weak and is resulting in the loss or degradation of important surface waters and ground waters.
- There is no indication that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) staff ever review any mining outfall DMRs [Discharge Monitoring Reports] for completeness or compliance with permit requirements….There is no mention of missing DMRs in the PADEP files examined, and no explanation for gaps that appear in the record….PADEP appears to accept whatever permittee data are submitted, however defective…
- Apparently there are no consequences either for isolated or for multiple or for repeated releases of wastewater in exceedance of permit limits….
- Tennessee fails to protect the public from coal ash by imposing basic safeguards at coal ash dumps.
- Tennessee regulations lack requirements for groundwater monitoring, liners for impoundments, financial assurance of coal ash impoundments, emergency action plans and inundation mapping and engineering inspections by operators.
- As of August 2011 regulators had inspected 0% of Tennessee’s coal ash dams in the last 5 years.
- State regulators in West Virginia routinely fail to hold the coal industry accountable for its pollution.
- The New York Times found that companies in West Virginia that violate state clean water laws rarely get fined.
This is Why We Need The EPA to Step Up for Clean Water!
Kentucky has little regulation of coal ash, and State regulators don't enforce those on the books. The head of theNorth Carolina environmental agency spent 28 years working for Duke Energy -- responsible for both slurry spills -- before being appointed by Governor Pat McCrory. Duke Energy contributed $1.1 million to McCrory’s campaigns and groups that supported him. Pennsylvania has the basis for strong regulations on coal mining and waste, but fails woefully in enforcement. Tennessee regulations lack requirements for protection of surface and subsurface waters and lack emergency action plans. Virginia fails to protect the public from coal ash by imposing basic safeguards at coal ash dumps. State regulators in West Virginia routinely fail to hold the coal industry accountable for its pollution.
In The News:
FEMA sends 75 tractor trailers full of bottled water to the over 300,000 people unable to use their tap water - Reuters, Jan 11, 2014
West Virginia Coal Slurry Spill: Kanawha Eagle Plant Leaks Into Fields Creek - Huffington Post, Feb 11, 2014
DUKE PLANS TO DREDGE RIVER AS COAL ASH DEAL DUMPED - AP, Feb 11, 2014
Second coal ash dump leak sends toxins into North Carolina river - Reuters, Feb 19, 2014
'Significant' slurry spill blackens Kanawha creek - WV Gazette-Mail, Feb 24, 2014