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Cleaning up Coal Ash

In 2012, I worked closely with our conservation lobbyists and environmental attorneys to defend South Carolina’s historic Pollution Control Act. In the end, we reluctantly agreed to a compromise that weakened the citizens “cause of action” but ensured that the right to challenge unpermitted pollution before the compromise bill became law remained in place.

The last suit filed under the old PCA led to an historic settlement that is cleaning-up Santee Cooper’s toxic coal ash at the Grainger plant on the Waccamaw River. An earlier filing by the Southern Environmental Law Center led to SCE&G’s agreement to clean-up coal ash at its Wateree Station plant in Richland County. Although Duke is still considering options for two active coal ash basins that have shown signs of seepage along the Saluda River in Anderson County, the company announced plans last month to remove some of the coal ash it dumped Years ago.

The massive coal ash spill in Tennessee six Years ago, followed by Duke’s spill earlier this Year in North Carolina, has fortunately focused public attention on what is at stake. But Representatives looked the other way in 2013 and passed a “polluter amnesty” bill on a 80-30 vote. Thankfully, H.3925 died in the Senate.

When we talk about accountability, we are talking about votes like this one.

Conservation Voters’ job is to tell voters who will stand up for the environment. That’s why we have endorsed Joe McCulloch/Richland, Vida Miller/Georgetown and Tombo Hite/Abbeville against incumbents who voted to strip away the citizens’ right that is now being successfully leveraged to negotiate the clean-up of past pollution all over the state.

We know candidates appreciate contributions but consider giving your equally valuable time  to these conservation-minded candidates.

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