NC Republicans: coal ash is good

In yet another stunning example of how North Carolina Republicans put industry ahead of the well-being of their own constituents, they are opposing efforts to declare hazardous substances as hazardous:

With the Environmental Protection Agency expected to release its proposed regulations for power plant coal ash any day now, there is an intense behind-the-scenes lobbying effort by industry interests hoping to keep the waste from being declared hazardous and thus subject to the strictest federal oversight.

Late last month, 27 Senators from both major political parties sent a letter [pdf] to the President opposing re-classification of coal ash as hazardous waste. That followed a bipartisan letter [pdf] sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson last June by 25 Senators and another letter [pdf] sent to Jackson that same month by 74 members of the House of Representatives raising the same concerns: that a hazardous designation would put an end to the recycling of coal ash, interfere with its so-called "beneficial uses" like structural and mine fill, and lead to "unnecessarily high costs" for utilities and consumers.

In the context of this discussion, the definition of the term "recycling" is as follows: "The systematic redistribution of toxins into neighborhoods and homes previously unaffected by them." (see also-Greenwashing)

If you have the time, check out this 60 Minutes episode on coal ash. The dangerously sleazy industry people in this video are exactly the same types that Richard Burr, Howard Coble, Walter Jones, Patrick McHenry and Sue Myrick are stepping up to defend. And the voters need to know.

Hat tip to Sue Sturgis over at Facing South. Thank you.

Comments

Exactly

The one (main) thing I took away from the radio show last night was the need to expose (to the voting public) how the behavior of elected Republicans works against the people of North Carolina. The more we do this, the fewer options they have to spend all that money for bullshit tv commercials.

Coal ash

If these sleazy Republicans are writing letters to the President in opposition to declaring coal ash as a hazardous material, then the President must have the power to make the decision.

Is there any question that he will not do the proper thing and declare coal ash a hazardous material? Why hasn't he done so previously?

Well put

The proof of the pudding will be in the tasting.

Of course there's a question

I know it's tempting to join the "Obama hasn't done anything" crowd, but you need to resist that temptation and find out what's really going on:

(Washington, D.C. - March 9, 2009) Responding to last year's massive coal ash spill at a Tennessee Valley Authority facility in Kingston, Tennessee, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today laid out new efforts to prevent future threats to human health and the environment.

The agency's plan includes measures to gather critical coal ash impoundment information from electrical utilities nationwide, conduct on-site assessments to determine structural integrity and vulnerabilities, order cleanup and repairs where needed, and develop new regulations for future safety.

You notice the date? Yeah, that's about six weeks after Obama's inauguration. Since then, the EPA has been doing exactly what they said they would do, and we know a hell of a lot more about this problem than we did.

You can't just snap your fingers and spit out new regulations, especially ones that overturn previous EPA positions. It's cranking out bullshit findings by Executive departments that has screwed up our (across the board) regulatory system in the first place, and doing more of the same for results we like isn't the answer.

I just hate the lobbyists/corporate influence

I know what you are saying Steve, but it just gripes my ass how the lobbyists work so hard to thwart excellent legislation for their own greedy agenda and how our elected officials so easily fall prey to them.

I may need to go take a cold shower or something :)

Yes, but it is the same old story

In mid-2009, the EPA said it was considering new coal ash regulations.

Now, here comes the massive corporate interests once again that will use their considerable power and influence to thwart the legislation/regulation precedure.

There has to be a way to stop this corporate influence that affects just about everything in our lives.

You cannot "taste the pudding" if there is no pudding.

Tasting the pudding

I am in complete agreement on this one. The lobbyists make some extra special tasting pudding that elected representatives find hard to resist. Elections do not always deliver the best - but corporate interests never fail to hire the best. And if the lobbyist does not perform they get fired immediately. However, often times we reelect the deadwood who have been purchased by the lobbyists and are being kept on life support - even though they are dead. The voters just don't realize their favorite son is dead.

There is a remedy to this, RH

Maybe I am just a naive soul here, but I truly believe there is a remedy to the amount of lobbying that goes on in congress. And, I think that if played correctly it can be achieved.

The president needs to appoint a TRULY bi-partisan committee (or panel, whatever you want to call it) to come up with MEANINGFUL and STRONG language in it that severely limits the influence lobbyists can legally have in congress. Now, I am not a lawyer or a legislator so I do not know what all that would take. But by god there ARE plenty of lawyers in congress and there are plenty of extremely experienced legislators there.

Lobbyists do not get "favors" and they do not receive "influence" by either republicans or democrats exclusively. The parties are mutually guilty of taking money and selling their influence for all kinds of treasures, most notably efforts on behalf of their individual campaigns to maintain their seats and continue their power and influence in D.C.

But, if there is a movement or a concerted effort to show the american voting public that they are willing to and ready to and making efforts to stop this kind of power brokering and influence peddling, both parties will win as will the American people.

I have always wondered why there are not more stories and reports that list the legislators' efforts on behalf of lobbyists. I am betting it would shock the bejeebers out of most people. Government of today is mostly government by the influential, not government by the people. And, again, this speaks to both parties.

I think there can be a remedy if our leaders truly WANT a remedy. Maybe it is up to the voters to elect people that actually show they are making efforts to dissuade the influence of corporate lobbyists, showing they walk the talk, so to speak.

It's not up to the leaders to fix this problem

It's up to us as voters. The "leaders" are the ones who benefit from the "problem" so expecting them to fix it just ain't gonna happen. I am still in shock that Jim Black was able to get re-elected in 2006 when it was so obvious that he was guilty. Until voters wake up, we'll have the same old, same old.

Yep

That's why I said:

Maybe it is up to the voters to elect people that actually show they are making efforts to dissuade the influence of corporate lobbyists, showing they walk the talk, so to speak.

We are of like mind here, of course. I am just a tad disappointed that our "leaders" cannot see the trees for the forest on this one.