Greenpeace Activists Call For Federal Standards on Hazardous Coal Waste

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jane Kochersperger, Media Officer (on site), (202) 680-3798; jane.kochersperger@greenpeace.org
Robert Gardner, Global Warming Campaigner, (540) 421-7558; robert.gardner@greenpeace.org

Greenpeace Activists Call For Federal Standards on Hazardous Coal Waste

Peaceful Protest Urges EPA to ‘Protect People, Not Polluters’

LOUISVILLE, KY - Highlighting the need for federal standards to
protect public health from hazardous coal waste, Greenpeace activists
climbed the downtown Seelbach Hilton Hotel in Louisville this morning,
unfurling a 23 x 23-square-foot banner that read “EPA: PROTECT PEOPLE,
NOT POLLUTERS – QUIT COAL.” The protest was held at the location of the
7th of eight public hearings conducted by the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) on two proposals for the regulation of coal ash disposal.

“EPA needs to establish federal standards for coal ash that will
protect people and not the polluters,” said Greenpeace campaigner,
Robert Gardner. “Lax state regulations will continue to place
communities at risk from coal ash, which has been linked to cancer,
respiratory illness, neurological damage and other health issues.”

The
EPA has been holding public hearings across the country on two vastly
different proposals to address the growing toxic waste stream --- one
would list it as hazardous waste and the other as non-hazardous.
Greenpeace is calling for a listing as hazardous, also referred to as a
‘special waste designation under Subtitle C’ of the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act, based on EPA’s own findings.

A
listing as hazardous would ensure that coal ash dumps and waste ponds
have all the protections currently required at waste landfills. This
would include solid waste permits and readily available technologies
such as liners and monitoring systems. Strong, federally enforceable
standards would ensure much greater compliance and thus a greater
likelihood that future spills and disasters—and the costs associated
with their cleanup—would be avoided. The number of known coal ash
contamination cases presently numbers 137 in 34 states.

“Like
Big Oil, Big Coal spends millions to avoid accountability. Already in
2010, the coal industry has contributed more than $13 million in
campaign contributions to candidates for federal office,” said Gardner.
“It’s not hard to see why government has failed to act yet, but they can
and must now.”

Greenpeace has also expressed strong opposition
to any expansion of Louisville Gas and Electric's (LGE) Cane Run coal
ash impoundment, which is located within city limits. EPA has identified
Cane Run as one of the 49 highest-risk impoundments in the nation.

“Expansion
could leave LGE ratepayers holding the bag not once, but twice...once
to expand it and then to decommission this toxic dump. We stand with the
residents of Louisville in saying ‘no’ to a repeat of the Kingston
tragedy in Tennessee and ‘no’ to wasting ratepayer money.”

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Independent campaigning organization that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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