Fly Ash Bill to Get Committee Vote Today

(Wheeling News 6-21-2011) A bill to stop the regulation of fly ash as a hazardous material should come to a vote before a House subcommittee today, said the bill's sponsor, U.S. Rep. David McKinley.
McKinley, R-W.Va., addressed a meeting of the FACES (Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security) of Coal Monday at Oglebay Park's Wilson Lodge, and he termed House Bill 1391 "one of my pet projects." The legislation is scheduled to be considered today by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment and the Economy, and McKinley said the bill now has 80 co-sponsors.
"It is an honor to be there in Washington to see people from California, Washington and Oregon and Indiana and Louisiana sign on to your bill because they believe in what we're talking about," McKinley said.
The question of what to do with fly ash - a byproduct of burning coal - is at issue. Presently, the United States recycles about 40 percent of the material, using it in everything from construction materials like wallboard to cosmetics and toothpaste, McKinley said.
"The EPA has been challenged ... they've done studies and found twice that it isn't hazardous," he continued.
The Obama administration has since instructed EPA Director Lisa Jackson to classify it as a hazardous material, limiting its use and dramatically increasing the cost for its disposal.
"Is it any wonder the coal industry and the power houses are all re-thinking whether they are going to continue to create electricity with coal when you have that threat hanging over you?" McKinley asked.
He predicted the bill will pass out of the committee and in the House.
He questioned, though, whether it will be approved by the Senate.
McKinley said there are numerous concerns about coal and cited a disconnect between what President Obama's administration says and its ensuing actions.
"I may agree with 80-90 percent of what he says, but I've got to disagree with 80-90 (percent) of what he does," McKinley said of Obama. "It doesn't always match up, and that's the frustrating part of it. What we ought to do is make our legislators accountable to do what they said they were going to do. When you make those remarks, I expect you to follow through with them. That doesn't always happen."
The coal industry is "under siege" by the federal government, he continued.
He held up a replica of a small nuclear pellet used to produce nuclear energy. McKinley noted the amount of energy produced by that pellet would satisfy the energy needs of an entire family for one year and is equal to about 1.25 tons of coal.
"That's what we're up against ... ," he said. "The problem is when that pellet gets hot, it stays hot for 1,000 years. And it causes environmental concerns, and we have to find ways to deal with it."
In speeches, Obama has promised to "out-produce" and "out-research the world" when it comes to producing energy.
"I thought he meant it," McKinley said. "I thought he was serious. Then once you got into the details of it, you found out that he had slashed clean coal technology by 33 percent."
As a result, "hundreds of millions of dollars" in coal technology research dollars were lost, according to McKinley.
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