Senator Fights EPA's Proposed Rule, Works to Protect North Dakota Jobs

(Political News 5-27-2011) Senator Kent Conrad today urged President Obama to quickly finalize an Administration rule designating coal ash as a non-hazardous solid waste material. The ruling would allow for the continued beneficial use of coal ash and ensure an unnecessary burden is not placed on North Dakota's utilities.
"Years of research have shown that coal ash should not be regulated as a hazardous waste. Doing so would only force unworkable requirements on our state's utilities, resulting in serious economic consequences and the loss of good-paying jobs," Senator Conrad said.
In a bipartisan letter to President Obama, Senator Conrad and 43 senators said a swiftly finalizing appropriate regulations for coal ash provides the "best solution for the environment and for the economy." 
The senators said the environmental advantages of the beneficial use of coal ash in products such as concrete and road base are well-established. They noted coal ash makes concrete stronger and cuts down on the production of more energy-consuming cements. A 2010 study by the University of Wisconsin and the Electric Power Research Institute found the beneficial use of coal ash reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by an equivalent of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, annual energy consumption by 162 trillion British thermal units, and annual water usage by 32 billion gallons. 
Senator Conrad also highlighted the fact that an EPA hazardous waste designation would "overwhelm existing hazardous waste disposal capacity" and strain critical budget and staff resources.
"While coal ash must be handled properly, there are less burdensome regulatory options that still protect public health and the environment and can be administered by state programs. In fact, North Dakota and other states already have the regulatory infrastructure in place to effectively manage it as a non-hazardous waste product," Senator Conrad said.
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