Four of Tamaqua's seven council members back an ordinance that would ban corporations from bringing toxic materials including coal ash, dredge spoils and radioactive materials into the borough, the Morning Call reports
The ordinance was proposed by Councilor Cathy Miorelli, a Tamaqua Area High School nurse, who got help drafting it from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
, a Chambersburg, Pa.-based legal-services group that helps citizens' groups and local governments regulate corporations' impacts on the community and environment.* Last September, Tamaqua approved another CELDF-backed ordinance banning corporations from applying sewage sludge to land within borough limits.
Council first considered -- and rejected -- a version of the latest ordinance last October, the Morning Call notes. Since then, it's been toughened to impose a ban on coal ash. But it's also been eased in ways, such as allowing residents to temporarily store home-generated coal ash, and lifting a ban on hauling certain materials through the borough.
Councilors who've said they'd vote for the ordinance at next Tuesday's meeting, according to the Morning Call, are Mahlon Kachelries, Ann Simard and Steve Tertel. James Knowles said he didn't know yet how he'd vote, and Council President John Trudich wanted information on other municipalities adopting similar rules. Trudich and Knowles voted against the original version of the ordinance, along with Micah Gursky -- the only councilor who said flat out that he'd vote against the current ordinance:
''I have no problem with using coal ash for [mine] reclamation,'' he said.
So even though a National Academy of Sciences report
released last March confirmed that toxins from poorly regulated coal ash dumps have poisoned drinking water supplies and caused considerable environmental damage nationwide, and even though report
by environmental health watchdogs has found serious public-health problems related to coal ash dumping, and even though a soon-to-be-released study
is expected to show that fly ash dumps in Pennsylvania have contaminated local groundwater supplies, Gursky -- who is not a doctor nor a scientist but a politician by training and profession -- has "no problems" with coal ash?
None at all?
What does Gursky know that these experts and watchdogs don't?* To learn more about CELDF's work, check out this excellent article by Barry Yeoman, my former colleague at the Independent Weekly in Durham, N.C.
Labels: coal combustion waste