July 31, 2013

Coal ash one step closer to state control

By Michael Johnson, Editor

A product holding together a great deal of our community infrastructure has been balancing between a helpful by-product and hazardous waste since about 2010. An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consideration has been to regulate coal ash (fly ash, bottom ash) as hazardous waste. This has not slowed the desire for construction companies to use this cost-effective product to create a firm foundation. Recent action by the House of Representatives moved forward  the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013 that would allow state control over the use of coal ash, instead of the EPA. The hope for many coal fired power plants, at least in North Dakota, is that coal ash would continue to be used in construction products rather than sent to a costly landfill as hazardous waste. “This coal ash legislation sets commonsense standards for managing and recycling coal ash with a state-led, states-first approach,” U.S. Senator John Hoeven said in a recent press release. “House passage of this legislation is a good step forward. We’re working to build bipartisan support for coal ash recycling legislation in the Senate. This legislation provides certainty for states and industry to manage coal residuals and we need to take the bill up this year and pass it.”

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