An Open Letter to Rep. James Matheson
23 Wednesday Feb 2011
Dear Rep. Matheson —
I cannot believe that you support removing the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to implement water quality guidance for mountaintop removal sites (as demonstrated by your vote in roll call #129, supporting amendment #109 to H.R.1).
I cannot believe that you support removing the EPA’s authority to protect citizens and residents of the United States by vetoing valley fill permits (as demonstrated by your vote in roll call #135, supporting amendment #216 to H.R.1).
I cannot believe that you support removing the Department of the Interior’s implementation of the Stream Protection Act, which would ensure that Americans still have access to clean water (as demonstrated by your vote in roll call #119, supporting amendment #498 to H.R.1).
Most of all, I cannot believe that you support removing the EPA’s ability to regulate toxic coal ash as hazardous material (as demonstrated by your vote supporting amendment #217 to H.R.1).
Coal ash is a dangerous waste generated by burning coal for energy, and it contains many hazardous metals and chemicals like arsenic, lead, hexavalent chromium and selenium. Despite its hazardous characteristics, coal ash is not currently subject to federal regulations, and state laws governing coal ash disposal are usually weak or non-existent.
Across the country, millions of tons of coal ash are being stored in unlined ponds, landfills and mines. Many of these sites lack adequate safeguards leaving nearby communities at risk from potential large scale disasters, like the massive coal ash spill in Tennessee in 2008, and from gradual yet equally dangerous contamination as coal ash toxins seep into drinking water sources.
Your constituents count on you to protect them, not to allow them to be exposed to more pollutants in our air and water, especially considering how often Utah (and Salt Lake County in particular) has the worst air quality (or very close to it) in the nation.
Shame on your support of mountaintop removal coal mining, which destroys our nation’s beautiful landscapes. Shame on your support of increased pollution.
Shame on you for voting once again with Republicans, and proving once again that it’s time for Utah to vote for another Democrat in District 2.