SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Environmentalists say the Environmental Protection Agency refuses to release information about coal ash despite the requirement for public involvement in a new rule that will regulate it. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s December 2008 spill of 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash into the Emory River triggered an EPA regulatory review.
But the Sierra Club and the Environmental Integrity Project say the government’s stiff-arm is hindering their efforts “to solve the pressing environmental and health problems associated with the storage and disposal of the solid waste generated by the burning of coal.”
From 1999 to 2005, the EPA collected information on 135 coal combustion residue sites that endangered human health. A 2005 study supposedly examined toxins in wastewater discharges from coal ash ponds.
The groups want to see that information. They say that the government gave no reason for its halfhearted response to their June FOIA requests.
The groups say they have not received the opportunity to limit the scope of their request to speed up the flow of information or set an alternative timeline, and that they lack a FOIA liaison, as required.
They say their ability to take part in a rulemaking process, expected to start this month, is being thwarted by the government’s lack of action.
Represented by David Bahr in Eugene, Ore., the groups seek a final determination on their information request.