Tuesday, May 04, 2010

EPA proposes two rules for disposal of coal ash

The Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday proposed two rules to regulate disposal of coal ash. If adopted the rules would mark the first national rules governing the disposal of the power-plant waste, says an EPA news release. The two rules differ in which section of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act they use for enforcement. "One option is drawn from authorities available under Subtitle C, which creates a comprehensive program of federally enforceable requirements for waste management and disposal," the release says. "The other option includes remedies under Subtitle D, which gives EPA authority to set performance standards for waste management facilities and would be enforced primarily through citizen suits." EPA has provided a chart comparing the two approaches. The proposed rules will be available for public comment for 90 days after they are published in the Federal Register.

The announcement marked clear progress on coal-ash regulation but was short of the bold step some had hoped for, Ken Ward Jr. of The Charleston Gazette writes on his blog Coal Tattoo. "After listening to the press conference, and as I read the 563-page document EPA just posted on its website, I have a hard time understanding how this is more than the Obama administration punting on making a decision here," Ward writes. Of the differences between the two proposed approaches, he explains, "RCRA Subtitle D leaves many decisions to the states, while Subtitle C sets up a nationwide regulatory program set up by EPA."

"EPA’s coal ash proposal is certainly a step forward," Lisa Evans of environmental group Earthjustice, which favors use of Subtitle C," told Ward. "While EPA has published two options, the science and law dictate only one path. Coal ash is hazardous and only hazardous-waste regulations can protect communities and safeguard our drinking water. EPA has proposed that option and should be commended for this action." (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Kentucky.
We here in Franklin County, Missouri, are following the EPA's actions closely. Our electricity provider wants to build a second and much larger (400 acre)coal ash dump at its plant in Labadie. Check a map of MO and you'll see that Labadie is right on the Missouri River. Contaminants are certainly leaching into the groundwater. More later.

Glad you are on top of this.
Susan Cunningham
Pacific, MO