March 16, 2009

SENATOR CARDIN SPONSORS RESOLUTION TO REGULATE COAL ASH

Allegany County Experiences Recent Coal Ash Spill

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) has co-sponsored a U.S. Senate Resolution (S.Res. 64) calling for stricter standards and oversight to help prevent coal ash spills and improve the management and proper disposal of coal combustion ash.

 

On March 9, the New Page Corp. reported that a leaking pipe discharged approximately 4,000 gallons of coal ash slurry into the North Branch Potomac River near Luke, Md.   In December, approximately 1 billion gallons of coal ash sludge spilled from the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant contaminating the Emory River and covering nearly 300 acres with grayish muck. In 2007, Constellation Energy and the owner of a local dumpsite were ordered to pay a $1 million penalty and clean up groundwater contaminated by a coal ash landfill in Anne Arundel County .  

 

Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, sees a need for much stricter standards to prevent future environmental disasters.   "The Tennessee tragedy and the recent Maryland spill are wake up calls that we need stricter regulation and oversight of coal combustion by-products.   A coal ash spill can take decades to remediate and we need to take strong steps to avoid such tragedies."     

 

The Senate resolution does the following:

 

·         Calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct immediate reviews and inspections of all coal ash impoundments in the United States;

·          Calls on EPA to propose and issue as quickly as possible rules to regulate coal combustion waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; and,

·         Calls on the Tennessee Valley Authority to "meet the intentions of Congress and be 'a national leader in technological innovation, low-cost power, and environmental stewardship.'"