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April 20, 2012 Published in Letters/Opinions

Representative Moran Votes To Protect Virginians Exposed To Toxic Coal Ash

Dear Editor:

On Wednesday, April 18th, Representative Moran stood up to big polluters and voted against the House Transportation Bill after a reckless amendment was added to it.

This amendment would endanger the health and safety of Virginia’s communities by failing to establish adequate standards for the disposal of toxic coal ash. This is yet another dangerous attack by House Leadership on public health protections, and I urge Senator Warner to reject it.

Coal ash is a dangerous by-product of burning coal, and contains mercury, arsenic, lead and other life-threatening pollutants that leach into the water supply. This bill would put a weak and dangerous scheme in place that requires more protections on household trash than toxic coal ash, even though coal ash pollution leads to health risks like cancer, neurological disorders, birth defects, reproductive failure, asthma and other serious illnesses.

In the past year, Virginia was ranked second in the quantity of toxics released into its waterways. This meant that 18,135,255 pounds of toxics were put into Virginia’s water, and the Potomac River alone received a total of 402,261 pounds of toxic pollution. We cannot afford to allow more pollution to be dumped into Virginia’s waterways.

To keep their operating costs as low as possible, big polluters are marshaling their pro-polluter allies in Congress to vote against commonsense operating standards and public health protections. Thankfully, Rep. Moran did not join their ranks and did not put the profits of big polluters before the health of Virginia families.

Virginians need to encourage Senator Warner to act in the way that Rep. Moran has been, prioritizing our communities’ and families’ health over the interests of polluting industries and continuing to protect the natural beauty of Virginia.

Sincerely,

Chloe Chen
Environment Virginia

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