Friday, January 31, 2014

EPA to finalize coal ash disposal rules by Dec. 19

The Environmental Protection Agency has finally announced when it will finalize rules for coal-ash disposal: Dec. 19. The agency has repeatedly put off setting a deadline; a federal judge's ruling that the EPA announce a deadline was extended from Dec. 29, 2013 until this past Wednesday.

EPA is considering two basic options, notes Romando Dixon for the Citizen-Times in Asheville, N.C.: " In one option, the EPA would list coal ash as special waste subject to regulation when destined for disposal in landfills or surface impoundments. In the second option, the agency would regulate coal ash under the section for non-hazardous wastes." (Read more)

The dangers of coal ash, which contains metals that can be toxic in high doses, became national news more than five years ago when "a dike rupture at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant spilled more than 1 billion gallons of ash slurry in 2008, covering 300 acres and flowing into two rivers," notes Bruce Henderson of the Charlotte Observer. When EPA dithered, several groups sued it. Matt Wasson of Appalachian Voices told Henderson, “It’s absolutely historic that we’re finally going to have a resolution of this. This has been going on not just since the spill in 2008, but well before that.” (Read more)

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