U.S. Senate hears SELC coal ash testimony

Senior Attorney Frank Holleman, left, prepares to testify on citizen enforcement of coal ash storage before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. (© Nat Mund/SELC)

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today heard testimony on coal ash storage from SELC’s Senior Attorney Frank Holleman.

The testimony was in response to Senate Bill 2446, which is aimed at stripping effective citizen enforcement of and  standards for coal ash storage. The federal standards were established in 2015 after numerous spills highlighted the risk coal ash storage poses to communities and their water.

These incidents provide repeated examples of states refusing to manage coal ash, making the position in the Senate bill even more troubling. Holleman urged the committee not to move the bill forward. As he noted, “thousands of people have called upon ineffective state agencies, the EPA, and elected officials to do more to protect them from coal ash.”

Holleman continued. “The proposed Senate bill would take power away from local citizens and give it to state bureaucracies—the very bureaucracies that did not prevent the Kingston and Dan River spills, that never have on their own required coal ash to be removed from a polluting unlined lagoon in the Southeast, and that have worked with utilities to protect them, not residents, from coal ash clean ups.”

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