The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Earthjustice recently released analysis of a risk assessment performed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2002 showing high cancer risks for people living near coal waste storage sites in South Carolina. The EIP has been seeking access to the study through the Freedom of Information Act but was unsuccessful. Ben Moore of The Coastal Conservation League says the Bush Administration would not release this information to the public and, only now, under the Obama Administration has it been made available. Moore says South Carolina was well documented in the analysis.
“These coal waste sites dramatically increase the risk of these kinds of illnesses for folks that live near by coal waste sites or are drinking the water,” said Moore.
“More specifically to South Carolina what was found was that this risk analysis examined seven sites in South Carolina and that South Carolina had more sites than the average state in the risk analysis.”
This information has become relative to the state because Santee Cooper is proposing two new coal ash ponds and a coal waste landfill in Florence County. According to Moore, “We have the EPA warning people about the risks of cancer and other illnesses from living near these things and, at the same time the EPA and other are showing signs that thy are going to more strongly limit or regulate these waste facilities, we’ve got a utility that wants to add to the problem and build coal ash ponds and landfills based on technologies and safeguards that this risk analysis suggests are not adequate.”
In a statement, the Environmental Protection Agency says it is “quickly moving forward to develop regulations to address the management of coal combustion residuals. The EPA anticipates having a proposed rule ready for public comment by the end of the year.”