Sen. Tom Carper, top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released a statement Nov. 4 after the Environmental Protection Agency released two new proposed rules, one that would ease federal limits on toxic coal ash from power plants, and another that would roll back federal limits on the levels of toxic metals in wastewater that can be discharged from the same power plants.
“These dangerous rollbacks would loosen federal limits on toxic coal ash and the discharge of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury from coal-fired power plants into our nation’s waterways,” said Carper. “Once again, this EPA is relying on a warped cost-benefit analysis that foists toxic pollution and additional health costs on the public. Sadly, it appears that EPA is walking away again from its mission to protect human health and the environment to prop up the president’s impossible promises to coal companies on the campaign trail.”
“Last week, Murray Energy became the eighth coal company to file for bankruptcy this year,” said Carper. “Despite this administration’s best efforts to weaken basic environmental safeguards for mining operations and coal-fired power plants, short-term cost savings cannot save the coal industry. That’s because America’s coal industry is not and never was collapsing under the weight of commonsense protections for public health and the environment — America’s coal industry is failing because cleaner energy choices are also cheaper. The coal industry is a victim of market forces.”
“I was born in Beckley, West Virginia, a coal-mining town,” said Carper. “My father once worked as a coal miner. I understand the unique and important role that coal mining has played in so many communities and in our nation’s story. The fact of the matter is that these rollbacks are not a panacea to solve the industry’s problems.”