Alexander Asks EPA to Hold Hearing on Coal Ash in Kingston, Extend Public Comment Period

Posted on September 1, 2010

WASHINGTON - US Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) yesterday sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking EPA Administrator Jackson to hold one of its hearings on how to handle coal ash in Kingston, the site of the largest coal-ash spill in American history.  In the letter, Sen. Alexander also asked the EPA to extend its public comment period to accommodate the concerns expressed at a possible Tennessee hearing.
"The Kingston spill dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash in Roane County and may cost TVA ratepayers as much as $1.2 billion in cleanup costs. Having hearings on coal ash without asking Tennesseans what they think would be like having hearings on Katrina without asking people in New Orleans what they think or on the oil spill without asking people who live on the Gulf what they think," said Alexander.
The text of the senator's letter to the EPA follows:
August 31, 2010

Dear Administrator Jackson,
I am writing to request that you extend the public comment period on proposed rules for the disposal of coal ash from coal fired power plants beyond the September 20, 2010 deadline, and that you hold a public hearing in Roane County, Tennessee to discuss those proposed rules.  
It is my understanding that EPA is holding a number of hearings in several states regarding the proposed rules on coal ash disposal, but none in Tennessee.  In December 2008, an impoundment in Roane County broke open, spilling 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash into the Emory and Clinch rivers and surrounding land.  That spill displaced residents, caused significant environmental damage, and may require up to $1.2 billion in clean-up costs.  Given this tragic event, the people of Tennessee have a unique perspective on this issue that would be beneficial to EPA while you are writing a final rule.
Thank you for your consideration.
                                                           Lamar Alexander