EPA Notice Seeking Public Comment on Coal Ash Data Sent to White House
Date: July 8, 2011
Source: News Room
The EPA has sent for White House review a long-awaited notice seeking comment on new data related to agency’s controversial proposal for regulating coal combustion residue (CCR) from power plants. The White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) on July 4 received the notice of data availability (NODA), which EPA waste chief Mathy Stanislaus first announced to a House Energy & Commerce Committee panel in April. EPA originally released a NODA on CCRs in 2007 at the start of the rulemaking process, so advocates are hopeful that this indicates the process is moving forward. In April, an agency spokesman said EPA may consider using data in the NODA “for the risk analysis, or for the regulatory impact analysis, for the CCR final rule.”
EPA’s proposal, issued last July, has drawn strong opposition from industry groups who charge that the option for regulating CCR as a “special waste” subject to regulation under strict subtitle C requirements of the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) — which is usually reserved for regulating “hazardous” waste — would impose a “stigma” on CCRs and lead to a reduction in the beneficial reuse of the material in cement, gypsum and other products. Their opposition prompted significant delays in the rulemaking process.
On the other hand, environmental groups favoring stricter coal ash rules say the public comment period on the NODA will lead to additional, unnecessary delay.
House Republicans, meanwhile, are moving forward on a proposal to allow states to regulate CCR under less-strict (subtitle D) waste rules, which they hope could garner bipartisan support.