Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sierra Club - Protect Local Communities from Toxic Coal Ash

Environmental issues are near and dear to my heart.  I was an activist for Greenpeace and for the NC Conservation Network both on and offline, but have had to curb my involvement this year due to other priorities.  Somehow I found myself on a different Sierra Club email list than I've been on in the past and this one gives supporters ways to participate in online campaigns.  As I discussed at length a couple of weeks ago, I'm very involved in online campaigns now because they are a non-time consuming way to contact legislative and other government figures about the issues that matter to me.

This online letter campaign is directed at the EPA.  They are considering public opinion on federal regulations for toxic coal ash, and as usual, coal lobbyists are hitting them hard to not pass these needed regs.  I adapted the text of the letter and sent it off this afternooon:

I appreciate this opportunity for public comment on the proposal for new federally enforceable standards surrounding coal ash disposal.  I am sure that you are receiving a lot of push back from the coal industry, but here is my point of view as a private American citizen with no ties to the industry.

First, thank you for recognizing the serious problems posed by toxic coal ash left from the burning of coal. Communities across the country are exposed to heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury seeping from ash storage sites into our drinking water, rivers and streams. The result -- increased risk of cancer, learning disabilities, birth defects and other illnesses.

As you well know, coal ash is hazardous but less strictly controlled than household garbage. The EPA must adopt enforceable federal safeguards, not suggested guidelines for states, to protect our communities.  This citizen stands behind your efforts to do just that.

If the BP oil disaster and the Tennessee coal ash tragedy taught us anything, it's that we can't just take the polluter's word for it anymore. I urge you to stand up to industry pressure and issue strong, federally enforceable safeguards quickly under Subtitle C to protect communities from toxic coal ash. Continuing to ignore scientific and safety concerns comes at a high cost to our families, communities and economy.  I trust that the EPA will be able to do the right thing by Americans and enact these safeguards.

Thank you very much for your time and the opportunity to share my concerns.

If you're interested in sharing your support for these regulations or even just learning more about this issue (which I encourage you to do before you sign on to anything), please check out this link: Sierra Club Coal Ash Rule Resources.  Educate yourself and then click the Take Action tab if you want to send a letter.

Until next time,

P.S. For those friends who have been following my weight loss journey, I have lost 15 pounds.  I do not look or feel any smaller but I am very encouraged by the results.  More to come on that whenever I take another break from the books. ;)