Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today released the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule for coal combustion waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Coal ash contains toxic substances, including mercury, arsenic, lead and other heavy metals, which can contaminate water supplies and threaten public health and the environment.
Senator Boxer said, "I am pleased to see the EPA moving ahead today to tackle the dangers posed by coal combustion waste, because coal ash contains toxic substances like mercury, lead and arsenic that can pose a threat to the health of children and families. The federal government has the power to address coal ash under current law, but decades of inaction have allowed an enormous volume of toxic material to go largely unregulated. In hearings in the EPW Committee, Administrator Jackson has promised to implement a coal ash rule that protects public health and safety and the environment. The TVA Kingston spill focused attention on the dangers posed by coal ash impoundments, and it is it is critically important that protective standards for coal ash waste be established as soon as possible."
Chairman Boxer conducted hearings on the issue of coal combustion waste following a billion-gallon 2008 spill of coal ash at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in Tennessee, and she has pressed EPA to move forward on a rule addressing coal ash that will protect public health and the environment.