Coal Ash Proposal Open for Public Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today published in the Federal Register its proposal to regulate toxic coal ash. The proposal, steeped in controversy, was announced by EPA May 3 but not immediately published.

EPA is proposing two regulatory options. The first would designate coal ash as a hazardous waste, requiring federal monitoring and control of coal ash’s handling, transportation, disposal, and any potential reuse. The other would regulate coal ash as typical solid waste, which has typically been used to control wastes such as household garbage.

Environmentalists and public health advocates have criticized the second option, saying EPA would not have enough authority over coal ash to keep it from polluting water supplies.

Today’s proposed rule gives the public an opportunity to comment on one or both options. EPA will accept comments for 90 days, until Sept. 20.

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