For Immediate Release

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Scott Pruitt is Trying to Sell the Safety of Our Water to Industrial Polluters

WASHINGTON - Yesterday evening, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed weakening vital clean water protections against toxic coal ash. His proposal clears the way for polluters, and polluter funded politicians to write weak standards for groundwater monitoring and coal ash cleanups, and attack the core health and environmental protections of the 2015 coal ash safeguards.

Pruitt’s proposals would replace science-based federal requirements that would fairly and consistently address water quality issues nationwide with a patchwork of state-by-state requirements that can easily be influenced by polluter interests. The federal requirements were put in place because state regulators hadn’t implemented adequate water protections against coal ash in decades, which contributed to catastrophic coal ash spills in places like the Dan River in North Carolina and Kingston, Tennessee.

In response, Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, released the following statement:

“Scott Pruitt is again trying to sell our safety to industrial polluters who funded his boss’ campaign, and this time it is by weakening science-based clean water protections against toxic coal ash. Coal ash is a dangerous substance laced with mercury and other nasty toxins that can cause serious harm to children, making it one of the leading reasons why communities across the United States have banded together to retire more than half of our country's coal plants.

“Pruitt’s proposals not only open the door for polluters to determine the extent, timing, and quality of monitoring and clean up of their noxious coal ash, but also curtail local residents’ ability to hold them accountable. The federal protections these proposals are meant to weaken were modest, science-based procedures that would have encouraged communities to monitor coal ash sites, while also providing federal oversight for state regulators who might be swayed by political pressures. Pruitt’s proposals are as ridiculous as they are dangerous, and we will fight this polluter power grab with all our resources.”


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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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