Opinion: Can Amanda Chase Make VA’s environmental practices safer?

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By Walter Moore

Has State Sen Chase picked up the environment protection mantel by wanting to protect the public from 25 million tons of Dominion coal ash?  The problem is coal ash’s potential to contaminate ground water with dangerous heavy metals (arsenic, lead and chromium) that cause serious health problems.  Dominion’s plan is to cap the “dry ash.”  Sen. Chase’s bill wants “any coal ash stored in an unlined pond….located within a half-mile of a floodplain or river (to) be excavated and disposed of by another means.”  Costs of $2-$5 Billion for the 13 tons in Chesterfield is not a problem:  “I’m not just looking at it from a cost standpoint-we have to think about public safety….When it comes to people’s lives, we need to err on the side of caution.””  My thoughts exactly!  Or will this be déjà vu again?  Remember when the Stream Protection Rule was implemented, Dave Brat and Congress voted to repeal it, and President Trump signed it last year, all within 50 days.  Where was the “public safety” or “err on the side of caution” with coal mining waste that pollutes rivers and streams with, again, heavy metals (selenium, mercury, arsenic)?  Are health and living 2nd?  Maybe she can amend her bill to cover coal mining waste and give Virginia back stream protection where it is mined.  She, then, can make Virginia the leader where Brat, Congress and the President failed.  She can make all of Virginia a place where businesses and people will feel safer and want to be.

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