WASHINGTON, DC – A delegation of three neighbors of toxic coal ash met with the White House’s regulatory office today to call on “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein to stop blocking a pending EPA rule that would protect communities from the toxic material. They were told a rule is coming but given no details.
The residents – from communities in Alabama, Oklahoma and Ohio exposed to toxic coal ash, representing others in five other states – met with four staff members of the White House Office of Information of Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), to share their stories. Listening in were two staff members from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and one staffer from the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
The residents urged OIRA Administrator Sunstein to let the EPA finally issue its regulation on toxic coal ash, pending at OIRA since last Oct. 16, which the EPA has said it intends to do this month. They pressed for federal regulation of coal ash as hazardous waste, and to give them more of a voice in the process. They said they feel intimidated by the coal industry and that they suspect the rule will be settled by the time it’s announced.
— Rachael Belz, Coal Program Organizer, Ohio Citizen Action
— Kristen Lombardi, PaperTrail, The Center for Public Integrity