Alexander Statement on EPA Decision to Hold Hearing on Coal Ash in Knoxville

Posted on September 8, 2010

NASHVILLE – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to hold a hearing on coal ash disposal in Knoxville, Tenn.:

“The EPA made exactly the right decision to hold a hearing on coal ash disposal in Knoxville. 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.”

The EPA decision follows a letter Senator Alexander sent to the EPA last week asking the agency to hold a hearing in the Kingston area. 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