Wednesday 22 May 2019

Fossil Fuels (81)

We had some important legislative wins for clean water in Maryland. But first let’s give a big shout out to the amazing win in Virginia on cleaning up a legacy of toxic coal ash stored on our river banks! Virginia Safe Disposal of Coal Ash - Great news in Virginia! On March 20, Governor Northam signed into law a bill (SB 1355) to safely dispose of 28 million tons of toxic coal ash Dominion Energy now has stored on the banks of the Potomac, James and Elizabeth Rivers. This bill sets a national precedent for how to safely remove a legacy of toxic coal ash stored along our waterways in our region and across the nation. Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks and James Riverkeeper Jamie Brunkow have worked for the past 5 years with local communities and legislators to fight Dominion's plan to cap-in-placecoal ash ponds that eventually leak into our waterways. This bill requires all legacy coal ash in the Commonwealth be recycled or safely landfilled within 15 years, rather than left in the current dangerous state of cap-in-place. Maryland Comprehensive Agriculture Reporting and Enforcement Bill (Del. Stewart – HB904 | Sen. Pinsky – SB546) This bill is arguably one of the most important agriculture bills that has gained traction in the Maryland General Assembly in the past decade. It will improve transparency and fairness in the State’s industrial agriculture permitting program, create penalties for violations of phosphorous pollution regulations, and improve the state’s overall agricultural enforcement efforts. It will prevent the state from waiving permit fees for…
Natural gas pipelines carrying fracked gas from other states are being proposed across Maryland – from the mountains in the west to the Eastern Shore. This expansion of fracked gas infrastructure poses significant risks to our state’s water and environment. We ask you to write to your representatives to urge support of the Maryland Pipeline and Water Protection Act (PAWPA) to protect Maryland’s waters from dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipelines. PAWPA would require the state of Maryland to conduct a full Water Quality Certification review of proposed fracked gas pipelines, as it is authorized to do under section 401 of the Clean Water Act, to assess their impact on the state’s water resources. Previously, state authorities abdicated this responsibility for the Potomac Pipeline and other pipelines. We urge you to tell your representative to support SB387 and HB669 with amendments to have this act apply to all new gas pipelines (interstate and intrastate) and to have the public notice, comment and hearing provisions apply to all projects that fall under Clean Water Act Section 401. With the proliferation of proposed fracked gas pipelines, this Act is critically important to protect state’s water resources, threaten communities and our climate.
New law requires excavation of all sites in Chesapeake Bay watershed Today, Virginia legislators passed a law in a bipartisan effort to safely dispose of toxic coal ash stored on the banks of rivers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The legislation will require the complete excavation of the more than 28 million tons of coal ash Dominion currently stores at Chesterfield Power Station, Chesapeake Energy Center, Possum Point Power Station, and Bremo Power Station. “We applaud the efforts of the Potomac and James Riverkeepers who have worked for years in local communities and the courts, with other advocates, legislators and citizens, to find a common sense solution to a legacy of toxic coal ash stored on the banks of our rivers,” said Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director Waterkeepers Chesapeake. “It is critically important to have strong laws on the state level during this time when federal agencies are attempting to eliminate rules protecting our waterways from toxic coal ash and to rollback other Clean Water Act protections.” The new law will require Dominion to do the following: Excavate all of the coal ash at these four facilities, and either recycle the ash into products like cement and concrete, or place it in modern, lined landfills. At least a quarter of the coal ash must be recycled, and the construction of any new landfills will be subject to local zoning and permitting requirements; Develop a transportation plan with the affected localities where any coal ash needs to be moved offsite; and Prioritize the hiring…

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