The House of Representatives yesterday passed the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. This piece of legislation makes the state the primary regulator and issuer of coal ash permits, as long as they meet the minimum federal requirements provided in the bill. This bill allows states to effectively protect the environment and provide cost-effective management of coal ash by setting federal standards and permitting states to respond to local needs.
Walorski said the bill helps to reign in the “overreaching” Environment Protection Agency regulations and creates a state-based program with standards for coal ash that she feels will protect jobs, health, and the environment.
Coal combustion residuals, also called coal ash, are materials produced when coal is burned to generate electricity. Coal ash is used in wallboard, roofing materials, concrete, cement, and other products used in highway and building construction. The purpose of the bill is to designate states as the primary regulator of coal ash, instead of the EPA, and set minimal federal standards. States will be required to certify compliance with specific federal standards, ensuring proper environmental protections are met.