Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Fly Ash Bill, Today's Globe Ed

Great bill, great editorial, great step for Massachusetts to take - if we can make her take that step.

The gist of the bill:
COAL is the cheapest source of electricity. One major reason why is that mining companies and coal-burning utilities have managed to pass many of its health and environmental costs - from the dust miners breathe to greenhouse gases - onto society at large. The latest demonstration of this came in Tennessee just before Christmas, when a lake of coal fly ash broke through its earthen dam and oozed out over 300 acres, damaging or destroying at least 15 houses.

In Massachusetts, where fly ash from the Salem power plant once contaminated the Lake Wenham water supply of Beverly, ash that is not reused in concrete production or other beneficial applications ends up in lined and covered landfills. Even in this state, though, there is no law mandating safe disposal. A bill co-sponsored by Representatives Lori Ehrlich of Marblehead and Mary Grant of Beverly would do so.
The Globe neglected to mention the fact that the fly-ash bill is revenue neutral, which is especially important in this fiscal crisis we're living in.

Disclosure: I live in Ehrlich's district and volunteered on her special election and general election campaigns, both taking place in '08.

1 comment:

Middleboro Review said...


Thanks for the post. I missed this editorial.

On December 22, TVA fly ash broke through an earthen dam that had previously been leaking into the river and was ignored.

TVA made no effort to prevent the sludge from continuing downstream to contaminate drinking water, but erected barriers to ensure that their plants had enough water to continue running.

2 subsequent coal spills ignored by the media.

The following explains the problem and why federal legislation is required:
The federal failure to regulate the waste has put 23 states -- including Tennessee -- in a special bind, since their statutes have "no more stringent" provisions prohibiting them from enacting standards stricter than those found in federal law.

Dirty Coal is profitable and their campaign contributions generous. They have had a stake in opposing Cape Wind and the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall II has been a recipient, which might explain his sudden environmental concerns with Cape Wind.
Dirty Coal

Kudos to Representatives Lori Ehrlich of Marblehead and Mary Grant of Beverly for doing so on a state level, but we also need to work to phase out Dirty Coal.

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