Comments on Coal Combustion Residuals AKA Coal Ash

niaz policy letters, Publications

165 organizations, including NAMA, signed on to community comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency’s docket stating the only way to protect public health from toxic coal ash is to finalize a rule regulating coal ash under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA).

Again, you may not at first make the connection between an organization focused on marine fisheries and coal ash, but there are indeed many connections.

We’ll give you one specific connection: we know that mercury is a byproduct of coal burning power plants which rely on coal as their source of fuel. We also know that mercury is one of persistent and bioaccumulative toxicants that build up in the food chain. Mercury is connected to many human behavior, cognitive and other diseases. The advice we hear often is stay away from foods that contain too much mercury and of course tuna comes up all the time. Why, because tunas live at the top of the marine food chain. By the time they eat everything else that has mercury and potentially other toxicants, they are getting a pretty good dose that is building up in their fatty tissue.

Tuna like to eat other fish and we seem to like to eat tuna.

By what is the mercury doing to the tuna? What if the human diseases associated with mercury are happening to tuna and other marine animals. Many of us are working to ensure the tuna populations remain health and not in danger from overfishing. But if all our fights in the fishing picture is undermined by toxicants that may be affecting the animals, how good of a job are we really doing?

So if we don’t care enough about the humans, let’s get rid of the sources of mercury for the tuna and other marine animals.

There are, of course, many other connections, but more on that later. In the meanwhile, please take a moment and check out the letter.


Coal Ash Rule Public Interest Community Comments_EPA-HQ-RCRA-2009-0640