House Stands Up For Jobs and the Environment, Approves Coal Ash Legislation With Strong Bipartisan Support

July 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today approved H.R. 2218, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 265 to 155. Sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), the legislation will improve environmental protections and protect jobs by creating a state-based program that sets enforceable federal standards for coal ash.

The bill is a product of two-and-a-half years of negotiations with stakeholders, the states, the Senate, and the administration. It is a workable solution to coal ash regulation and provides an alternative to EPA’s 2010 proposal to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste, which put hundreds of thousands of jobs in jeopardy and threatened to drive up electricity and construction costs. Earlier this week, over 200 organizations collectively voiced their support for this commonsense regulatory solution, joining the broad coalition of stakeholders supporting the commonsense jobs bill.

“After countless hearings, meetings, and amendments we come here with a solution … If we don’t act decisively, Congress will once again kick the can down the road. That would mean the status quo continues,” said McKinley. “After 30 years of debate it is time for action.” 

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) added, “This bill reflects crucial input over two years from House and Senate Republicans, Democrats, and the administration. The time has come to put our pencils down and enact this law so that we can close the regulatory gap. States, utilities, and hundreds of thousands of workers in the recycling industry have been waiting in limbo for a resolution. This bill meets those needs.” 

Reflecting the bill’s bipartisan support, Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) expressed, “This bill is a reasonable compromise and a win-win for the American people that would help protect the environment and create jobs.”