A Cleveland, Ohio-based group called Ohio Citizen Action has organized the letter-writing drive. In a press release, the organization references a letter from Elisa Young, who lives in Meigs County, Ohio. According to the release, there are four coal-fired power plants within 11.5 miles of Young’s home. Young wrote a letter to OIRA Director Cass Sunstein: “Where is the justice in allowing a community already saturated in coal waste and with these kinds of health statistics to continue to bear the brunt of this burden with no regulatory oversight?”
The press release also cites a letter from Uniontown, Ala., and Roane County, Tenn. Both of those areas have been affected by a massive coal ash spill at the Kingston, Tenn., coal power plant in which 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry burst its storage pond and flowed into the Emory River, covering 300 acres. Roane County has seen terrible effects from the spill—the direct results included damage to 42 residential properties in the relatively rural area surrounding the plant, a significant fish kill, and elevated levels of heavy metals in river water. A landfill in Uniontown has received shipments of the spilled material at the Kingston power plant since 2009. Residents there have complained of problems breathing, a stinking smell in the ground water, and other problems. Environmental activists have reported regulatory violations with the landfill and the disposal of the leachate from the coal ash, and a complaint has been filed with the EPA.
If you’d like to learn more about Ohio Citizen Action or their campaign to regulate coal ash, visit www.ohiocitizen.org.