Carper: EPA Coal Ash will Pollute Waterways with Toxic Heavy Metals and Jeopardize Public Health

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WASHINGTON. D.C. – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that would ease federal limits on toxic coal ash flushed from power plants and loosen federal limits that protect people from toxic metals in wastewater that can be discharged from the same power plants.

“I was born in Beckley, West Virginia, a coal mining town. My father once worked as a coal miner. It would be difficult for anyone to deny the coal industry’s role in the history of America and its place in the stories of so many American families, like mine. The coal industry fueled our nation’s industrial revolution, and while coal powered homes and businesses, it also empowered communities. It is also impossible to deny the coal industry’s legacy in polluting our nation’s airways and waterways, devastating the health of so many Americans, especially those working and living in coal communities.

“Burning coal creates a toxic residue called coal ash, which is filled with heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury. When coal-fired power plants improperly dispose of their coal ash, it can pollute drinking water sources with heavy metals that are known to cause cancer and other serious health ailments. Some of our nation’s worst environmental disasters in the past decade have involved coal ash, with billions of gallons of toxic coal ash spilling into our nation’s rivers and polluting our drinking water. These disasters could have been easily prevented if companies properly disposed of their coal ash.



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