President Admits Coal Ash Proposal Cost in Billions

            Labeling coal ash a “hazardous waste” when disposed could cost the nation more than $1 billion per year, President Barack Obama said in an August 30 letter to U.S. House of Representatives leaders. In fact, proposed coal ash regulations were listed among the seven most expensive regulations the federal government is currently considering.

The value gained from a billion dollar plus expense is especially suspect when you consider that the landfill design criteria in the Environmental Protection Agency’s “hazardous waste” coal ash proposal are essentially the same as the Agency’s less expensive “non-hazardous” alternative.

The figures came to light in a letter responding to a request by House Speaker John Boehner. The president’s letter tried to soften the blow by saying: “Of course, these rules are merely proposed, and before finalizing any of them, we will take account of public comments and concerns and give careful consideration to cost-saving possibilities and alternatives.”

The August 30 letter was in response to Speaker Boehner’s request of four days earlier. In that request, Speaker Boehner wrote: “This year, the administration’s current regulatory agenda identifies 219 planned new regulations that have estimated annual costs in excess of $100 million each… I was startled to learn that the EPA estimates that at least one of its proposed rules will cost our economy as much as $90 billion per year. The administration has not disclosed how many of the other 218 planned rules will cost more than $1 billion, nor identified these rules.”

Of the seven “over $1 billion per year” rules identified by the President, four have been proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and three by the Department of Transportation. The coal ash disposal regulation annual cost was estimated to be between $600 million and $1.5 billion.

A news article about Speaker Boehner’s request can be found here and another article about the President’s response is here. The complete text of the President’s letter can be found here.

Posted by: on: Sep 09, 2011 @ 04:47