By a vote of 265-155 the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 2218 Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013 which prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from designating fly ash and other coal ash residuals from being classified as a hazardous waste. The legislation introduced by Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) establishes a regulatory structure for coal ash that would be controlled by states with little EPA oversight. The White House released a statement this week expressing its concerns about the bill and suggesting improvements but did not threaten a veto. A similar bill is pending in the Senate.
Preventing EPA from taking action to deem fly ash as hazardous has been a top AGC of America priority. AGC of America submitted detailed comments to EPA urging that it weigh the potential impacts of its regulatory options on the beneficial use of these materials and take into consideration the real environmental benefits of reusing these materials and the lack of negative reports (i.e. alleged or proven damage cases) associated with the beneficial use of fly ash in many construction applications including concrete and wallboard. AGC urged EPA to either rely on state requirements or establish non-hazardous waste requirements that protect the beneficial use of fly ash in construction.
Members of the Washington Congressional delegation who voted “yes” in support of AGC of America’s position were Reps. Hastings McMorris Rodgers and Reichert. Those voting “no” were Reps. DelBene Heck Kilmer Larsen McDermott and Smith.