News | July 23, 2015

House passes leaky coal ash bill

In a 258-166 vote yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at weakening the EPA's first-ever coal ash rule. The Obama administration has already threatened to veto the bill, should it reach the president's desk.

Senior attorney Frank Holleman leads SELC's team of attorneys addressing coal ash throughout the Southeast. His reaction to the vote is below.

“It’s disappointing that members of the House voted to dismantle important EPA coal ash protections, putting public health and safety at risk by stripping the few critical safety requirements and protections included in the rule,” he said. “It would result in a rule that contains no repercussions or responsibility for cleanup. Coal ash contains dangerous toxic substances like arsenic, and irresponsibly disposed coal ash is currently leaking into waterways and groundwater, endangering communities across the country.
 “This bill only serves to weaken citizens’ ability to enforce the law and protect their communities. Members of the House even shot down commonsense amendments to provide more protections against contamination by requiring well water testing for possible contamination near coal ash sites and ensuring that utilities monitor closed coal ash ponds to make sure they aren’t leaking toxic pollution.
 “Congress should work to put more – not fewer – protections in place to keep our waterways and communities safe. We hope the Senate will do the right thing for public health and our waterways and strike this bill down.”

Additional Resources:

The Greensboro News & Record reports on the House rejection of North Carolina Rep. Alma Adams' ammendment to fix the coal ash bill.

Read the Associated Press coverage of the vote and the politics behind it.