House Passes Coal Ash Measure
Yesterday, the House passed HR 2218, by a vote of 265-155, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act. The legislation would prohibit EPA from finalizing its 2010 proposed coal combustion residual rule. This rule would force costly retrofit of older utilities and increase the cost of electricity. The legislation gives states the lead in implementing minimum federal standards for the disposal of coal ash. Similar legislation has passed the House before, but was not accepted by the Senate. The latest bill adds language clarifying that EPA still has authority to investigate and remediate sites under CERCLA, mandating emergency action plans, and requiring periodic evaluation of the structural integrity of coal ash impoundments. Before passage, the House accepted an amendment by Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) that would require states to respond to coal ash spills or leaks.