West Virginia Congressman Wants EPA To Stop Monitoring Toxic Waste

Sat, 2011-05-07 09:15Farron Cousins
Farron Cousins's picture

West Virginia Congressman Wants EPA To Stop Monitoring Toxic Waste

Republican Representative David McKinley from West Virginia has proposed a bill that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating toxic coal ash. The EPA has not yet made a decision on whether or not to classify coal ash as toxic, but reports show that the substance poses significant risks to human health.

McKinley is the sponsor of HR 1391, formally known as Recycling Coal Combustion Residuals Accessibility Act of 2011, a bill that would strip the EPA of their ability to exempt toxic coal ash from the EPA’s “Subtitle C” classification. Subtitle C lays out the guidelines that the agency follows in order to regulate toxic substances from “the cradle to the grave,” meaning that they provide oversight throughout the cycle of any form of hazardous waste. It also gives the agency the authority to conduct periodic inspections of plants producing hazardous wastes, as well as providing states and cities with training programs in how to manage these wastes.

But McKinley is adamantly opposed to classifying coal ash as a toxic substance, and even went as far as to use his position on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to promote the use of coal ash. From a recent op-ed by McKinley, posted on the Committee’s website:

“Twice under the Clinton administration, in 1993 and 2000, the EPA studied this issue and concluded each time that coal ash is non-hazardous. But now, they are revisiting coal ash regulation — not because of new science — but simply because the EPA is controlled by an ideologically motivated president who has actually said he wants to “bankrupt” coal.”

As we’ve reported in the past, coal ash is known to contain the carcinogen hexavalent chromium, as well as toxic levels of mercury. We’ve also shown how manufacturers of coal ash have poured millions of dollars into lobbying campaigns to promote the use, and prevent a toxic classification for coal ash.

But after looking into McKinley’s campaign coffers, it is no surprise that he is fighting tooth and nail to prevent coal ash from being labeled as toxic. He has received more than $83,000 from the mining industry – the single largest industry to donate to his campaign. But it isn’t just the mining industry that has put money behind McKinley – big oil got in on the game as well. Exxon Mobil put $8,000 in his pockets, and the Koch brothers threw in another $10,000. An interesting note about this freshman Congressman – 66% of his campaign contributions came from out of state. Not bad for a man who had never held a federal office before.

And his stance on other issues is reflected by this money. During his campaign, he desperately proclaimed on his website: “The War on Coal must stop! Liberal Washington politicians and bureaucrats have been trying to limit coal production at all costs. I oppose any version of the cap and trade legislation that negatively impacts our coal industry. With our country using less coal, we will become more and more dependent on foreign energy.” He is also a staunch supporter of offshore drilling in U.S. waters. And in his seemingly never-ending battle against the environment, he also co-sponsored legislation that would have amended the clean air act to no longer consider the following gases as “pollutants”: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.

McKinley’s legislation, which is still being debated in Committee and has not yet been brought to the floor for consideration, would have far-reaching impacts on the environment. Not only would it prevent the EPA from monitoring coal ash, but any waste product produced by the burning of fossil fuels. Let’s hope that this bill stays stalled in the Energy Committee before any damage can be done.

Previous Comments

The War on Coal must START

Good luck. It will likely go as well as the war on oil.

The Committee website mentions the 1993 and 2000 determinations.

“Twice under the Clinton administration, in 1993 and 2000, the EPA studied this issue and concluded each time that coal ash is non-hazardous. But now, they are revisiting coal ash regulation — not because of new science — but simply because the EPA is controlled by an ideologically motivated president who has actually said he wants to “bankrupt” coal.”

What the Committee website fails to say:

“After careful review of the present disposal of these wastes,
we believe these additional measures are needed to ensure that
public health and the environment are fully protected. If the
states and industry do not take steps to address these wastes
adequately in a reasonable amount of time or if EPA identifies
additional risks to public health, EPA will revisit this decision
to determine whether a hazardous waste approach is needed.”
(EPA Press Release, April 25, 2000)

Since the 2000 determination, the number of EPA acknowledged “damage sites has increased from 6 to 67 in 2007 - a tenfold increase. If the “damage sites” identified by research scientists from 2007 to 2010 are added, the number increases to 137 - a twenty-fold increase.

So it may be a power grab by the EPA as they don’t state what hazards they have discovered that the Clinton administration didn’t.

Republican Representative David McKinleys Dirty Energy Money: http://dirtyenergymoney.com/view.php?searchvalue=David+McKinley&search=1&type=search

and where do his children live, where do they go to school and work? Nowhere near any of that toxic waste he doesn’t want managed I’ll warrant.

Get far away from war!

The work of EPA is quite outstanding. Like coal ash research we want to know more about toxic substances. The war of coal starts.

The ending of regulation in toxic waste mean is to end of the environment. If the decision will stay, we wont be able to live. Day by day the toxic mainly coal ash is increasing at an alarming rate. The war on coal must stop.

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