Press Release | November 4, 2019

Administration Proposes Gutting Rule that Limits Toxic Wastewater from Coal Plants

Further Weakening of Coal Ash Rule also Expected

WASHINGTON – In response to the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of a crucial rule–known as Effluent Limitation Guidelines or ELG for power plants–aimed at limiting coal plants’ ability to dump toxic pollution into rivers and lakes, Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, issued the following statement. He also noted that the administration also is expected to further weaken a national coal ash rule known as the Coal Combustion Residuals Rule or CCR Rule.

“EPA is taking two giant steps backward in protecting communities and clean water from toxic coal ash pollution.
First, the EPA today announced a dangerous and misguided rollback of decades-overdue protections against toxic wastewater pollution of our rivers and lakes from coal-fired power plants.  With this proposed rule, EPA bends over backward to let polluting power plants drag their feet on installing long-available pollution controls—or get out of doing so entirely.  At industry’s request, this proposal will allow polluters to dump more arsenic, mercury, and selenium into our lakes and rivers—even though available technologies to control this pollution have been demonstrated at power plants across the South and the nation.”
Second, the EPA is also expected to propose to allow primitive, leaking waterfront coal ash lagoons to keep operating and polluting longer.  This would be a giveaway to large, polluting coal-ash utilities.  We have seen in the South that coal ash lagoons can be shut down quickly and that the utilities can remove the coal ash to safe, dry, lined storage.  These obsolete unlined, leaking pits pollute our water and threaten catastrophes every time there is a hurricane, flood, or a storm.”
For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region.

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Kathleen Sullivan

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Phone: 919-945-7106
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