Thursday, August 19, 2010

EPA to hold coal ash hearing in Pittsburgh

COAL ASH SPILL.jpg - Scientific American

Photo: Scientific American

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host a hearing on September 21 at the Omni Hotel, 530 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, Pa., to get public comment on its proposal to regulate the disposal and management of coal ash from coal-fired power plants. 

The agency describes its proposed regulations as the “first-ever national effort to ensure the safe disposal and management of coal ash from coal-fired power plants.”  

The action was prompted by the December 2008 spill of coal ash from a surface impoundment near Kingston, Tennessee.

Pittsburgh is one of seven national locations for the hearings.

Coal-Ash Hearing Schedule

August 30:        Hyatt Regency, Arlington, Virginia
September 2:    Grand Hyatt, Denver, Colorado

September 8:    Hyatt Regency Dallas, Dallas, Texas  
September 14:  Holiday Inn(Airport), Charlotte, North Carolina  
September 16:  Hilton Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 
September 21:  Omni Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pa.
September 28:  Seelbach Hilton, Louisville, Kentucky

Each hearing will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 9 p.m. with a break at noon and 5 p.m. local time. The hearings will continue past
9 p.m. if necessary.  People who wish for a guaranteed slot to speak must register no later than three business days before each hearing.  Additionally, walk-ins and written comments will be accepted at each hearing. The agency will consider the public’s comments in its final decision.

The EPA is weighing two possible approaches. The first would phase out surface impoundments and moves all coal ash to landfills. The second allows coal ash to be disposed in surface impoundments, but with stricter safety criteria. (Chart comparing the two approachesClick here for more information about the proposed regulation

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