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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fly Ash Environmental Injustice in Perry County Alabama?

AAEA opposes the shipment of toxic fly ash to Perry County, Alabama. We are working to stop these shipments. AAEA is promoting the increased use of fly ash in the production of concrete as the best solution to this problem.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently approved a plan by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to ship three millions of tons coal ash waste, from the December 2008 Kingston Fossil Fuel Plant ash spill disaster in Kingston, Tennessee to Perry County, Alabama. Perry County is 70% black and is also the second poorest county in Alabama and unemployment is around 17 percent. The median income of its residents is around $24,000 and approximately a third of the county lives below the poverty level.

The TVA is now shipping ash coal waste that contains significant levels of 14 toxic substances including arsenic, lead, mercury selenium and radioactive elements to a private waste site owned by Perry County Associates.

The majority of the county's politicians are black including the county commissioners and they endorsed the fly ash disposal plan. The politicians backed the idea because it will bring more employment to the county. The waste will bring $4 million dollars in fees to the county and create as many as 50 jobs, which will last about a year, to a county whose population is 10,600 people. But Congressman, Arthur Davis, who represents the county, and who intends to run for governor of Alabama, is also strongly opposed to the ash fill landfill.

Regardless of the intent of the shipments of fly ash to Perry County, the impact is that poor blacks will be exposed to disproportionate risk. EPA should not have approved these shipments and should remove any fly ash taken to Perry County. (CounterPunch.org, 7/16/09)

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