Scores of national and state-based environmental groups sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) expressing their opposition to a bill that would negate many aspects of EPA’s rule governing disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCRs) from electric utilities.
CCRs are one of the largest industrial wastestreams generated in the United States. In 2012, over 470 coal-fired electric utilities burned over 800 million tons of coal, generating approximately 110 million tons of CCRs. The content of EPA’s rule was partly influenced by the 2008 failure of a dike at a coal ash impoundment at a power plant in Tennessee, which released over 1 billion gallons of coal ash slurry into the environment.
The groups are concerned that the legislation would leave enforcement to the states and significantly diminish the citizen suit provision in EPA’s rule.