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North Carolinians Oppose Weakening Coal Ash Controls

Last week, concerned North Carolinians spoke out against the Trump Administration’s proposal to weaken controls on coal ash pollution.

Environmental scientists, attorneys, and activists all made the trek to a national hearing near Washington, D.C., on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to reverse Obama-era rules on the use and management of coal ash.

Some public testimony addressed the risk of uncontrolled use of coal ash as construction filler because it contains known toxics and carcinogens.

Duke University earth sciences professor Avner Vengosh testified, “While the current Federal 2015 Coal Ash Rule puts some restrictions on the placement of large quantities of (coal ash) for beneficial use, the new amendments would allow the placement of unlimited quantities of (coal ash) in the environment, potentially near drinking water wells, water bodies and residences without any restrictions or safeguards, that could result in impacts on the water quality of water resources and potentially human health.”

In its news release on the hearing process, the Southern Environmental Law Center details the major problems with the proposed changes. As noted by Vengosh, these include the unregulated use of potentially unlimited amounts of coal ash as fill material in construction projects.On October 10, the EPA will hold its first virtual public hearing to accept comments on the proposed rule changes. The deadline to register for the online hearing is Monday, October 7.

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