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Coal Ash Provision Stalls Transportation Bill

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The transportation bill has been held up on Capitol Hill because of the Republican's coal ash provision.
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The transportation bill has been held up on Capitol Hill because of the Republican's coal ash provision.

Transportation legislation is being held up on Capitol Hill, in part because of a provision to limit the regulation of coal ash in states like Virginia.

Twenty-two coal protestors were arrested this week for refusing to leave the offices of four lawmakers, including that of Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.).

Stanley Sturgill, a retired coal miner and mine inspector, came to Washington this week with more than 100 others to protest a Republican effort to ban the EPA from regulating coal ash. He says surface mining in Appalachia is already hurting people's health.

"Just over the last few years, the cancer rates have increased by over 50 percent," he says. "The birth defects has increased by 41 or 42 percent."

But Republican Ed Whitfield, the head of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, says the EPA's decision to regulate coal ash will have adverse consequences.

"There's going to really be a major problem of disposing of it," says Whitfield. "So I'm totally supportive of our efforts in the transportation bill to reverse the EPA's coal ash regulation."

The transportation bill remains stalled on Capitol Hill because of the coal ash provision and another GOP lead effort to build an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

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