On Thursday, Jan 28th, Sierra Club and our allies at Earthjustice, Environmental Integrity Project, NRDC and grassroots groups across the country are participating in a national day of action to urge the Obama Administration to move forward with strong, federally enforceable rules to regulate coal ash disposal. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working on proposed rules to ensure the safe disposal of coal ash – the byproduct of burning coal for power. As expected, the coal industry is fighting to maintain the status quo on coal ash, backing a proposal that ensures coal ash is treated less responsibly than household trash.

The nearly 136 million tons of coal ash generated each year is full of harmful toxins like arsenic, lead and mercury. People living near the coal ash sites have a staggering 1 in 50 risk of cancer. Both EPA and the National Academy of Sciences have years of research making it clear that coal ash is becoming increasingly toxic and confirming time and again that coal ash poses a threat to human health.

We must treat coal waste as a hazardous substance and not take away the opportunities for residents of communities impacted by coal ash disposal to provide input on how the coal ash should be handled.

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Our goal with a day of action on January 28th is to generate thousands of emails, phone calls and letters to the editor of national and local newspapers calling on the Obama Administration, to bring an end to the delay.

We hope you will share the information about the day of action with your local activists, allies, colleagues, friends, and family. Want to get involved? Here are two things you can do on Jan. 28th and beyond:

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1. Email Action: Send an email directly to the White House in support of this EPA rule. Everyone who takes action on our alert will be automatically invited to submit a letter to the editor of their local newspaper as well.

2. Then, post this message as your facebook status with a link to the online action alert: “I asked President Obama to protect all US residents from hazardous coal ash sites around the country, and you can too: http://action.sierraclub.org/coalash!”

One thing is clear – coal must be cleaned up and the industry will not clean itself. Residents across the U.S. want the coal industry to clean up and not expose them to health hazards like air pollution and coal ash. We need strong regulations to hold coal accountable and speed the transition to a clean energy economy.