Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hold coal-ash debate in public, NYT editorial says

We most recently reported about the ongoing debate over new Environmental Protection Agency regulations governing the disposal of coal ash last week. One of the country's top newspapers has chimed in. "The agency’s recommendations, which have not been made public, are now the focus of a huge dispute inside the Obama administration, with industry lobbying hard for changes that would essentially preserve the status quo," The New York Times writes in an editorial. "The dispute should be resolved in favor of the environment and public safety."

The Times dismisses arguments that a hazardous-waste designation for coal ash would damage beneficial recycling efforts. "Evidence suggests that tough but carefully tailored rules could encourage even more recycling, protecting the environment while yielding income to help pay for more secure landfills," the editorial says.

"This debate is being conducted behind closed doors, mainly at the Office of Management and Budget, where industry usually takes its complaints and horror stories," The Times writes. "A better course would be to let the EPA draft a proposal, get it out in the open and offer it for comment from all sides. The Obama administration promised that transparency and good science would govern decisions like these." (Read more)

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