WP OP-ED: Transportation bill amendment would dump more coal ash on low income communitites
by Crystal McMillan on Wednesday, May 30, 2012
One of the amendments being considered for the newest Federal Surface Transportation act concerns the use of coal ash. This amendment would weaken the environmental protections that restrict the use and disposal of coal ash. Particularly restrictions that would affect the use of coal ash in concrete. This amendment is being sponsored by Republicans in response to a push by President Obama and the EPA to characterize coal ash as toxic and raise the restrictions on its use and disposal.
As the conferees debate this amendment in the transportation bill, Dr. Robert Bullard and Congressman Bobby Rush have published an op-ed citing not just the health risks associated with coal ash "It is laden with mercury, arsenic, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and lead, which are pollutants that cause cancer, organ disease, breathing problems, neurological damage, developmental problems and even death", but also have highlighted the history of building "inadequate"dump sites in low-income communities. "In the aftermath of this disaster[2008 coal ash spill], over three million tons of coal ash were removed from the mostly white community and dumped in Perry County, Ala., where 90 percent of the community is African American."