White House, EPA at Odds Over Coal-Waste Rules

(Wall Street Journal 1-9-2010) The Obama administration is engaged in an unusual internal spat as the White House and Environmental Protection Agency tussle over how to handle millions of tons of waste from coal-fired power plants.
 
Utility and environmental groups are watching the coal-ash dispute as an indicator of the administration's pliability on the regulatory front. The White House has already backed several new environmental initiatives that have drawn sharp reactions from industry, particularly EPA findings last month that designated carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant.
 
But environmental groups are pointing to a flurry of industry meetings on the coal-ash issue as evidence that utilities and other companies are using a foothold within the White House to fight back against potentially far-reaching new rules.
 
The office of President Barack Obama's regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, has held nearly 20 meetings with industry groups since October to discuss the potential impact of proposed EPA rules to treat coal ash and other coal byproducts as hazardous waste, according to White House records. Mr. Sunstein directs the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the White House Office of Management and Budget.
 
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