Arlington VA, June 3, 2013 —The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today lauded a bipartisan effort in the House Energy and Commerce Committee to assure protective standards for the management and disposal of coal ash from power plants. NRECA declared its support for “The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013,” introduced by Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), which leverages the existing expertise of states in regulating solid waste. The bill is scheduled for a subcommittee markup this week.
“Cooperatives thank Rep. McKinley and committee leaders for this common sense legislation. This bill provides federal standards to protect the environment, while also protecting cooperatives’ ability to provide their members with reliable, affordable electricity,” said Kirk Johnson, Senior Vice-President of Government Relations at NRECA.
The Environmental Protection Agency has previously determined coal ash not to be hazardous. Cooperatives across the country keep coal ash out of landfills through beneficial reuse in the manufacture of gypsum wallboard, concrete and other materials. The bill will not only promote the regulatory certainty needed for continuing beneficial reuse, but also avoid the tremendous costs that come with a hazardous treatment.
“Regulatory uncertainty is a threat to the recycling of coal ash that would otherwise end up in landfills; this legislation enables the cost-effective reuse of combustion residues to continue and even flourish,” Johnson said.