A bill that would cut the US Environmental Protection Agency out of regulating the disposal of coal ash has passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee and will now go to a full vote in the House of Representatives.
Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act
The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act was proposed by Rep. David McKinley, a Republican lawmaker from West Virginia and offers an alternative to an EPA proposal to regulate the ash – a move that Republicans say could impact 300,000 jobs.
McKinley’s proposal would set up a regulatory process independent of the EPA, establishing enforceable federal standards but handing responsibility for permitting and other regulation to the states.
“Currently, coal-fired power plants in 48 states create coal ash every day, but there are no federal standards for safe disposal of the material. One approach would designate coal ash as a hazardous material, which would prevent its use in everyday products and ultimately cost 316,000 jobs,” McKinley said. “Our approach sets minimum standards and gives the states flexibility to implement a disposal programme that protects the environment and jobs.”
Protecting the environment and jobsComing out in support of the proposed legislation, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which represents private, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, said: “This approach will assure cost-effective, environmentally protective disposal of coal combustion residuals [CCR] without discouraging beneficial uses of the material. Approximately 45% of overall electric utility CCRs are used in gypsum wallboard, concrete and other practical applications. Managing CCR as a non-hazardous waste helps ensure that the jobs and tax revenue created from the reuse of CCR will continue benefitting our economy.”
Written by Jonathan Rowland.
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