The Skywriter

Overflow crowd at NC coal ash hearing favors strong regs


Overflow crowd at NC coal ash hearing favors strong regs


By Peter Waltz, Organizing Director at the North Carolina Conservation Network. -- Luis

The EPA held one of several hearings on the regulation of coal ash on September 14 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The hearing was being held at a Holiday Inn which is overflowing with folks here to comment on the two proposals EPA has put forth. The EPA is hearing comments on two proposals: one regulating coal ash merely as solid waste under Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enforceable only through citizen suits and requiring no state regulation; and the other, more stringent regulation as “special waste” under Subtitle C of RCRA which would allow EPA to regulate and enforce rules.

The room was so packed that this blog entry was being typed from the overflow room set up to allow people who can’t fit in the room to listen to the audio. The crowd appeared to be heavily in favor of strong regulation of coal ash, as evidenced by the number of folks walking around displaying their yellow stickers reading “Protect Families: Clean Up Toxic Coal Ash.”

The day started out with three strong speakers in favor of the Subtitle C option. A resident of Roan County, TN, the location of the TVA coal ash disaster, started the day off arguing the cost of not regulating coal ash, which far outweighs the costs that those opposing the regulations claim will hamper their business. This speaker was followed by the State Director of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club, a biologist, the Sierra Club’s national coal ash expert, and a private citizen all arguing for Subtitle C. Several speakers from the concrete and other industries argued that regulating it under Subtitle C and would cause a stigma and severely hurt the industry, or that beneficial use, not covered by either of the proposals, should be regulated differently from coal ash disposal.

It was a long day for everyone, but by the makeup of the crowd it was especially long for those arguing for the Subtitle D regulation.

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