Sunday, January 10, 2010

Will EPA & OMB Ignore & Abuse Blacks With Fly Ash?

While OMB Regulatory Czar* Cass Sunstein, right, is meeting with coal industry representatives and evildently delaying EPA's regulations on coal ash, Blacks are once again left out of the business side and literally dumped on, on the pollution side. In other words, the coal ash from the Kingston, Tennessee spill disaster in Debember 2008 is being shipped to a black community in a different state, while contracts for environmentally friendly reuses seem to end up everywhere except with black contractors. We are confident that EPA Administrator Lisa Perez Jackson, left, is promoting environmental and economic justice in the deliberations with OMB, which is charged with reviewing all proposed regulations.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, right, is chairwoman of the House committee with jurisdiction over the TVA spill/fly ash issue. The House Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held the first oversight hearing on the spill on March 31, 2009. Johnson held a second hearing a month later on April 30, 2009. In fact, the entire Congressional Black Caucus should get involved in this issue and monitor the promulgation of this regulation. EPA, OMB & TVA are required to consider environmental injustice under Presidential Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. To date, such consideration has been given short shrift.

Fly ash from coal-fired power plants will have to be ruled a hazardous waste. AAEA believes there should be exemptions for positive reuse of fly ash, such as producing cement and concrete. AAEA promoted keeping the fly ash on site and constructing a cement/concrete production facility there to process the contaminated ash. Moreover, minority contractors should be included in reuse production. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is spending $1 billion on cleanup/export and a fair share of the clean up should go to minority vendors. After all, the toxic ash is being transported from Tennessee to a black community in Alabama. AAEA opposed the waste being shipped to that landfill, but since it is already happening, the blacks in that area should be properly compensated, or even relocated. It is simply unconscionable that blacks will get none of the business but most of the pollution. This is the height of environmental injustice. (WSJ, 1/9/10)

* Directs the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the White House Office of Management and Budget.


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