Showdown over Coal Ash Regulation Looming in Senate

Date: April 20, 2012

Source: News Room

Battle lines over how and when coal ash should be regulated are being drawn as environmentalists are suing EPA to force a deadline while industry and some republicans are using a pending Senate bill to force a compromise. Earlier this month, activists sued EPA to force a deadline for issuing a long-delayed Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) ash rule. The agency proposed a rule in June 2010 to regulate ash as either hazardous waste subject to strict RCRA subtitle C controls, or less stringent subtitle D solid waste controls, but a final rule is not expected before the end of 2012. Industry and others, including some Republicans, are opposed to a hazardous waste rule which they believe would ruin the market for reusing ash in cement and other products. The House passed a bill H.R. 2273 that would block strict EPA regulation, leaving it to the states to regulate ash disposal as consistent with other non-hazardous wastes. However, the bill is seen as having slim chances in the Democratic Senate. Attempting an end-run, Rep. David McKinley (R-WY) successfully added the text of H.R. 2273 as an amendment to a massive transportation reauthorization bill which the House approved on April 18. However, the coal ash language is not in the Senate bill and environmentalists will want to keep it that way.

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