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More Congressional Bills Address Threat to Coal Ash Recycling

            The U.S. House of Representatives is attempting to protect coal ash recycling from an unwarranted “hazardous waste” designation in more than one way. At least three bills currently moving through the House include coal ash as a central issue.

            The most prominent bill – HR 2273 – has been approved by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and could come to the House floor for a final vote within the next month or two. More about that bipartisan bill – which creates a coal ash disposal regulatory program administered by states – can be found here. But two other bills are ensuring that the coal ash issue remains front and center in the House.

On July 12, the House Appropriations Committee passed its fiscal year 2012 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.  Section 434 of the bill prohibits funding for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate coal ash as a “hazardous waste” under subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The legislation passed the committee by a vote of 28 to 18 and is similar to a provision in a short-term spending bill that passed the full House by a 239-183 margin in February. (See here for more information.) A complete copy of the most recent appropriations bill can be found here.

On July 13, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved another bill that would require an interagency committee to analyze the cumulative impacts of major new EPA rules on the U.S. economy, jobs, and energy prices. (Currently, EPA only performs regulatory impact analyses on a rule by rule basis, but does not take into account the potential impact of multiple rules being enacted simultaneously.) EPA’s proposed coal ash disposal regulations are included in the list of rules covered by the bill entitled HR 2401 – the “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act,” or TRAIN Act. The bill was introduced by committee members John Sullivan (R-OK) and Jim Matheson (D-UT). It passed the committee with bipartisan support by a vote of 33 to 13.

Posted by: on: Jul 27, 2011 @ 01:32