Statement from Congressman Gerry Connolly:
On Friday May 13th, Potomac Riverkeeper Network awarded its prestigious Protector of the Potomac Award to two elected officials who have led efforts to protect and restore the Potomac River at their annual 2016 Gala in Alexandria, VA.
“United States Congressman Gerry Connolly and Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell will share our 2016 award for the exceptional role they have played in safeguarding their constituents and our waterways from the devastating impacts of coal ash waste” said Jeff Kelble, President, Potomac Riverkeeper Network.
U.S. Congressman Gerry Connolly stepped up years ago as a champion of improving the federal rules, which govern the closure of these storage pits. “Even before Possum Point began its closure plans Congressman Connolly stood out among his peers in demanding greater safeguards for the public. He continues to be a leader in addressing the toxic legacy of coal ash today, and it is our honor to present to him our Protector of the Potomac Award,” said Dean Naujoks, the Potomac Riverkeeper.
“Thank you to the Potomac Riverkeeper Network for this recognition and bringing attention to the serious danger that coal ash poses to our communities, our waterways, and public health,” said Rep. Connolly. “What we are witnessing at Possum Point, and coal ash impoundments across the country, is one of the most significant environmental threats to Northern Virginia and demands all our attention.”
Virginia Senator Scott Surovell, representing the Commonwealth’s 36th District, has also been a force in the fight against coal ash. From defending the right of his constituents living near Possum Point to a clean river and safe drinking water, to holding the state accountable for a full cleanup of Possum Point’s coal ash, Senator Surovell has worked tirelessly to protect the environment. “Senator Surovell has been an incredibly valuable partner to the Potomac Riverkeeper Network and Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks in particular. We’re grateful to have him as an ally” said Mr. Naujoks.