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New U.S. Senate Bill Protects Environment and Coal Ash Recycling

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to establish coal ash disposal regulations nears the end of its fourth year with no conclusion in sight, U.S. Senators are acting to create meaningful regulations that can take effect now while simultaneously protecting coal ash recycling.

 S 3512 – the ‘‘Coal Ash Recycling and Oversight Act of 2012’’ – was filed August 2, 2012. The bill would establish the first ever national regulatory standards for coal ash disposal.

The new legislation is based on the regulatory structure approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and proposed in the Senate last October as S. 1751. However, it adds key revisions designed to attract more Democratic support and address concerns of environmental groups. It would create enforceable national regulations under Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and avoid any designation of coal ash as “hazardous waste.” 

The revised bill is the product of seven months of intense bipartisan discussions to broaden both Democratic and Republican support for the bill that was originally introduced. The new bill has attracted support from 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans as co-sponsors – up from five of each sponsoring the original bill last fall. Lead sponsors are Democratic Senator Kent Conrad and Republican Senator John Hoeven, both of North Dakota.

 A summary of the new bill and a complete list of the co-sponsors is here. A copy of Senator Hoeven’s news release regarding the bill is here.

 The new Senate bill was filed after the coal ash provisions narrowly missed inclusion in the Transportation Bill that passed Congress in June. For more detail about how the coal ash provisions were dropped from that bill at the last minute, look here

Posted by: on: Aug 18, 2012 @ 12:41