Coal ash regulations could be costly

A study by Veritas Economic Consulting, on behalf of the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group, says U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposals to regulate coal ash could cost industry up to $110 billion over 20 years if coal combustion residuals (CCR) were regulated as a “special waste” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Under Subtitle C of coal combustion residuals (CCR) regulations, or the hazardous regulations, 183,900 to 316,000 jobs could be lost nationwide, and industry could spend between $79 billion to $110 billion.

Subtitle D of the CCR regulations, or the nonhazardous regulations, could result in the loss of 39,400 to 64,700 jobs nationwide and could cost the industry between $22 billion to $34 billion. Veritas formulated the estimates for job losses nationally by comparing the estimated stream of revenues for each unit with compliance cost.

Under Subtitle C, coal ash would be categorized as a special waste regulated by the RCRA Subtitle C hazardous waste provisions. If adopted, this option would create federally enforceable requirements for ash management, including waste generation, transportation and disposal. Under Subtitle C, CCRs would be regulated from the “point of generation,” requiring retrofits and upgrades to upstream CCR handling and storage equipment. If Subtitle D were adopted, industry would likely see less stringent enforcement by the EPA.

To read the entire study, click here.

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