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Committee Approves Job-Saving Coal Ash Legislation

Jul 13, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - The Energy and Commerce committee today took action to protect hundreds of thousands of American jobs by approving legislation to ensure the continued beneficial use of coal ash materials.

After months of bipartisan negotiations, the committee passed H.R. 2273, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, with strong support by a vote of 35 to 12. The legislation, authored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), will strengthen management of coal combustion materials. The legislation is necessary to provide an appropriate regime for the safe management and disposal of coal combustion residuals, while also encouraging investment in recycling and beneficial reuse.  The legislation is necessary to prevent EPA's plans to classify coal ash as a hazardous material despite the findings of previous administrations and scientific studies that such a classification would be inappropriate. 
Coal ash is widely used in construction products such as cement, concrete, wallboard, and roofing materials. The EPA's misguided plan to regulate coal ash under Subtitle C of the Solid Waste Disposal Act would stigmatize this material, threatening jobs and the affordability of electricity. At least one analysis shows the administration's regulatory plan could result job losses totaling over 300,000. McKinley's bill will allow for the proper management of these materials in a way that protects both jobs and the environment.
"I applaud Mr. McKinley and the subcommittee chairman, John Shimkus, for working with so many Members on both sides of the aisle to develop such a strong bill so we can move ahead with a solution to the EPA's wrong-headed coal ash proposal. Beneficial reuse of coal combustion residuals benefits the economy and jobs as well as the environment," said Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). "As a result of their efforts, the bill received a strong bipartisan vote today and will see a greater likelihood of becoming law."