In December 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized the first-ever nationwide standards regulating the disposal of toxic coal ash waste generated by power plants. While the standards do not go far enough to stop the unsafe disposal of coal ash, they have given new tools to affected communities to hold the dirty coal plants more accountable for their pollution. However, if certain members of Congress have their way, even this modest step forward will be blocked, and polluters will be completely “let off the hook.”
HR 1734 – the “Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015” is intended to do just that.
We need you to take just one minute and contact Montana’s Rep. Ryan Zinke (or your own representative if you don’t live in Montana), and ask that he or she vote against this terrible proposal.
HR 1734 would gut the new EPA rule that protects public health and the environment, and would place American communities at increased risk of toxic exposure and catastrophic disasters. Colstrip, Montana, is one such community. Over 800 acres of leaking coal ash impoundments have contaminated the area’s ground and surface water with toxic pollution. The contamination is so bad that in 2008 it resulted in a $25 million settlement between the operators of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant and local residents.
Almost worse, the State currently only holds a $7.5 million dollar letter of credit from the company to cover the future costs of cleaning up this enormous toxic waste site. The actual costs will probably be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Allowing wealthy (and out-of-state) corporations to pollute Montana’s water is simply unacceptable. Please contact Rep. Zinke today and urge him to oppose this bill.