House GOP bill would cut EPA out of coal ash regulation

(The Hill 06-04-2013) Legislation from a Republican lawmaker would almost entirely cut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) out of regulating the ash produced from power plants that burn coal. A bill introduced by Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) this week seeks to override the EPA's proposal to regulate the ash, which Republicans say could threaten more than 300,000 jobs.
Instead, McKinley's legislation, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, would set up a regulatory process that largely bypasses the EPA. It sets minimum federal standards for coal ash, but hands over responsibility for permitting and other regulation to the states.
The bill would also require permits for facilities that manage and dispose of coal ash and mandate monitoring of groundwater, which could be reviewed by the public.
The EPA would still be responsible for managing coal ash on tribal lands.
“Our approach sets minimum standards and gives the states flexibility to implement a disposal program that protects the environment and jobs," McKinley said in a statement. "This is a common sense solution with bipartisan support whose time has come.”
The EPA is considering two different ways to regulate coal ash: as either hazardous waste or as non-hazardous solid waste.
McKinley introduced a similar bill in 2011, which passed the House with the support of 37 Democrats. Its companion legislation in the Senate never got out of committee.
The Environment and the Economy subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which McKinley is a member, will mark up the legislation this week.
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