Bill introduced to improve coal ash residuals legislation

Newer legislation that would set up a state-based regulatory program to regulate the disposal and management of coal combustion residuals and encourage reuse was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 3.

Rep. David McKinley (R-W.V.) introduced the bill during a meeting of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will mark it up later in the week.

The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, also known as H.R. 2218, keeps many of the same principles from Rep. McKinley’s previous legislation, H.R. 2273. The newer bill sets enforceable federal standards while allowing states to create a permit program that works for the state. The legislation also contains improvements that were contained in Senate bill 3512, including requirements for groundwater monitoring at all structures that receive coal ash after enactment and corrective action for leaking impoundments. It also sets deadlines for issuing permits, creating an interim compliance period and identifying criteria to assess whether a state permit program is meeting the minimum requirements.

The newer bill would also continue the reuse of coal ash in such items as cement, concrete, wallboard and roofing materials.

“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 program that protects the environment and jobs.”

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