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Coal Ash Waste – Call the House Committee now

Tell them that the testimony being given is based upon false premises and they should not vote for HR 2273 when the Committee hearing resumes at 3 pm EST.

According to the National Academy of Science (NAS) Coal Combustion Residues or waste (CCR’s) contain numerous hazardous metals and substances with hazardous characteristics including arsenic, lead, selenium, mercury, chlorides and sulfates. (The National Research Council (NRC), Managing Coal Combustion Residues in Mines, March 2006, pp. 27-57)

A recent report cites hexavalent chromium as another toxic by-product of CCR’s

These pollutants can cause cancer, birth defects, reproductive problems, damage to the nervous system and kidneys, and learning disabilities in children.  Similar to lye, CCR’s can be caustic enough to burn the skin on contact.  CCR’s can decimate fish, bird and amphibian populations by causing developmental problems such as tadpoles born without teeth, or fish with severe spinal deformities.  CCR’s have been associated with the deaths of livestock and wildlife.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a waste is “hazardous” if it leaches toxic chemicals, like arsenic or selenium, above a certain threshold when tested using the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP).

Using the TCLP, coal ash rarely exceeds this threshold.  The EPA’s Science Advisory Board and the National Academy of Sciences have determined that the TCLP does not accurately predict the toxicity of coal ash.

National Research Council, Managing Coal Combustion Residues in Mines, 2006, pages 150-152.  Also see U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board, Waste Leachability: The Need for Review of Current Agency Procedures, EPA-SAB-EEC-COM-99-002, Washington, DC, 1999, and Leachability Phenomena: Recommendations and Rationale for Analysis of Contaminant Release by the Environmental Engineering Committee, EPA-SAB-EEC-92-003, Washington, DC, 1991.

When EPA tests coal ash using the new, more accurate Leaching Environment Assessment Framework (LEAF), the resulting leachate can exceed by many times these hazardous waste thresholds.  For example, when tested with EPA’s new, more accurate test, coal ash leached arsenic at 1,800 times the federal drinking water standard and over 3 times the hazardous waste threshold. The new test revealed selenium leached from one coal ash 580 times the drinking water standard and 29 times the hazardous waste threshold.

U.S. EPA, Characterization of Coal Combustion Residues from Electric Utilities – Leaching and Characterization Data. EPA-600/R-09/151, Dec. 2009, http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/pubs/600r09151/600r09151.html,  pages xii, xiv, 133, 135, 138 and 143.

U.S. EPA, Characterization of Coal Combustion Residues from Electric Utilities – Leaching and Characterization Data. EPA-600/R-09/151, Dec, 2009, http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/pubs/600r09151/600r09151.html, page xiv, Table ES-2.

EPA’s 2010 risk assessment found the cancer risk from drinking water contaminated with arsenic from coal ash disposed in unlined ponds is as high as 1 in 50 adults, which is 2,000 times EPA’s regulatory goal for acceptable cancer risk.

U.S. EPA, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment of Coal Combustion Wastes, RIN 2050-AE81 April 2010, page 4-7.

In hearings today, members are providing information that minimizes the harm by coal ash waste.  Rep Green is holding that Coal Ash is only an impoundment issue, and Rep. McKinley has testified that all tests show Coal ash is not toxic using a chart that uses ONLY TCLP tests results when the National Academy of Science has twice determined that the TCLP is NOT accurate.   Further, Rep. McKinley has testified that EPA has twice “conclude” that coal ash is not toxic when the EPA stated that if new evidence is presented that shows evidence of damage that it will revisit the determination.

Can you call your legislators and explain that the testimony being given is based upon false premises.

US House Energy and Commerce Committee

Republican Members, 112th CongressCliff Stearns (FL)  202-225-5744       

Fred Upton (MI) 202-225-3761

Joe Barton (TX) 202-225-2002

Ed Whitfield (KY) 202-225-3115

John Shimkus (IL) 202-225-5271

Joseph R. Pitts (PA) 202-225-2411

Mary Bono Mack (CA) 202-225-5330

Greg Walden (OR) 202-225-6730

Lee Terry (NE) 202-225-4155

Mike Rogers (MI) 202-225-4872

Sue Myrick (NC) 202-225-1976

John Sullivan (OK) 202-225-2211

Tim Murphy (PA) 202-225-2301

Michael Burgess (TX) 202-225-7772

Marsha Blackburn (TN) 202-225-2811

Brian P. Bilbray (CA) 202-225-0508

Charles F. Bass (NH) 202-225-5206

Phil Gingrey (GA) 202-225-2931

Steve Scalise (LA) 202-225-3015

Bob Latta (OH) 202-225-5206

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA) 202-225-2006  

Gregg Harper (MS) 202-225-5031                 

Leonard Lance (NJ) 202-225-5361

Bill Cassidy (LA) 202-225-3901

Brett Guthrie (KY) 202-225-3501

Pete Olson (TX) 202-225-5951

David McKinley (WV) 202-225-4172            

Cory Gardner (CO) 202-225-4676

Mike Pompeo (KS) 202-225-6216

Adam Kinzinger (IL) 202-225-3635

Morgan Griffith (VA) 202-225-3861

Democrat Members, 112th CongressHenry A. Waxman (CA) 202-225-3976

John D. Dingell (MI) 202-225-4071

Edward J. Markey (MA) 202-225-2836

Edolphus Towns (NY) 202-225-5936

Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ) 202-225-4671

Bobby L. Rush (IL) 202-225-4372

Anna G. Eshoo (CA) 202-225-8104

Eliot L. Engel (NY) 202-225-2464

Gene Green (TX) 202-225-1688

Diana DeGette (CO) 202-225-4431

Lois Capps (CA) 202-225-3601

Michael F. Doyle (PA) 202-225-2135

Jan Schakowsky (IL) 202-225-2111

Charles A. Gonzalez (TX) 202-225-3236

Jay Inslee (WA) 202-225-6311

Tammy Baldwin (WI) 202-225-2906

Mike Ross (AR) 202-225-3772

Jim Matheson (UT) 202-225-3011

G. K. Butterfield (NC) 202-225-3101   

John Barrow (GA) 202-225-2823

Doris O. Matsui (CA) 202-225-7163 Kathy Castor (FL) 202-225-3376 Donna Christensen (VI)