Sierra Club and Allies Take Action to Protect Communities from Hazardous Coal Dust
December 11, 2009
On December 7, 2009, Sierra Club and its allies filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking the agency to reconsider its new air pollution standards for coal preparation and processing plants. The groups object to EPA’s decision to exclude from the standards any limits on coal dust pollution from roads at the coal preparation plants. At the same time, the groups filed a formal challenge to the new rule with the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Coal prep plants crush, sort, clean and dry coal to prepare it for combustion, and play a key role in both the coal mining and electric utility industry. There are more than 250 coal prep plants in operation nationwide, with a high concentration of facilities found in Appalachia. Coal dust emissions from trucks transporting coal across roadways at coal prep plants are a significant source of pollutants that cause serious health problems. Every day, hundreds of trucks servicing these plants track fine coal particles onto roads and then drive over them, stirring coal dust into the air. Coal dust is an especially dangerous contaminant that contains traces of the same hazardous compounds that are released when coal is combusted, such as arsenic, mercury, and uranium.
As Mary Anne Hitt, Deputy Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign said, "[t]he EPA has to address all sources of dust coming from these coal prep plants, including the significant amount of dust that comes from trucks and roads. By failing to provide limits on road dust, the EPA has not satisfied its duty to protect public health."
Sierra Club, along with Appalachian Voices and the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, is represented by Earthjustice in this challenge.
See other "Stop Polluters" cases.