The Trump Administration Gives Coal Plants a Free Pass to Pollute Water and Risk Human Health

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Washington, DC - Today, despite broad public opposition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially delayed, for two years, certain deadlines for coal-fired power plants to significantly reduce the amount of toxic metals and other chemicals discharged into rivers, lakes, and bays across the nation, including those used for drinking water. These pollution limits were finalized by the Obama administration in 2015 and this is the first step in a plan to propose new, likely weaker safeguards for how power plants are required to limit toxics and other contaminants in  bottom-ash wastewater and flue gas desulfurization wastewater (scrubber sludge).

Clean Water Action National Water Programs Director Jennifer Peters released the following statement.

"This is a reckless decision and a slap in the face to anyone who thinks that public health should be prioritized over industry bottom-lines. Scott Pruitt's EPA is doing what it does best - pandering to polluters who line the pockets of their allies on Capitol Hill with campaign donations. The Trump administration performed very little outreach to anyone other than industry representatives. It limited time for public comment in order to fast-track this irresponsible proposal, and canceled meetings with stakeholders who opposed the dangerous plan to let coal plants dump toxic waste directly into our waters. Scott Pruitt has made clear that he cares more deeply about industry cronies than public health. Delaying compliance and proposing weaker protections will put more people at risk of exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. Coal plant wastewater is deadly, containing heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury that can cause brain damage in kids. This proposal is built on the lie that it is too expensive to protect the health of our water and families - affordable technologies exist that can eliminate nearly all of this pollution. Scott Pruitt doesn't care about that - his bottom line is making things easier for his friends in industry instead of carrying out EPA's mission to protect human health and the environment."


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress.

Michael Kelly