Elsewhere in this issue of Green, we’ve mentioned the Coal Association’s Legislative Program 2015.
Another item we’d like you to note is the Association’s “request” regarding Aboveground Storage Tanks (p. 8), which reads, in part: “. . . it is clear the Association should work to amend the statute to exempt as many tanks at coal mining operations from most of the provisions of the statute as possible.”
So please consider the threat level to be raised, as it appears there may be a battle ahead to prevent the weakening of the water protections for which we worked so hard last year.
And in case it’s slipped your memory: last session, we thought one of our biggest battles was going to be a weakening of the water quality standard for aluminum. That was before the Freedom Industries spill, which caused legislators ultimately to decide that 2014 was not a good year to vote for dirtier water, and they asked the DEP to pull the rule.
But this past week, S.B. 357 hit the ground. It incorporates a number of items from coal’s “wish list,” and weakening the aluminum standard is one of them. So please be prepared to help us out on that one too.
H.B. 2004, on which there’s a public hearing today? That’s part of the wish list too, item 8 on page 7: “To forbid the State from submitting a State Implementation Plan (SIP) until the State finds “draft” SIP results in no economic harm to any region of the state and is approved by the Legislature. This will be similar to the model legislation prepared by ACCCE.” (ACCCE stands for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which is a sponsor of ALEC).
Remember H.B. 2269, which I wrote about last week? That’s the bill that specifies that “rules of the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Natural Resources and Department of Commerce be no more stringent than corresponding federal law or regulations.” Yep, you guess it. Part of coal’s wish list, on page 9.
If you’re unhappy about any of this, please let your legislators know . . .