WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 1119, Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment (SENSE) Act, by a vote of 215-189.
The SENSE Act will ensure environmentally beneficial coal refuse-to-energy facilities put at risk by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules continue to operate and perform important cleanup activities in Pennsylvania and other areas of the country. Coal refuse-to-energy facilities are unique in that they have been developed to recycle coal refuse – the aboveground waste product from coal mining – and use it as an energy source to generate affordable, reliable electricity. Unfortunately, and despite the environmental benefits, EPA has imposed emissions limits that are not achievable for these coal refuse-to-energy facilities. Unfortunately, an estimated 1,200 direct and 4,000 indirect jobs in economically distressed areas could be impacted if nothing is done.
“These coal refuse-to-energy plants have been developed and built in several communities with waste coal. These plants burn waste coal to produce electricity, and the resulting ash is then used to remediate the land. Thus far, these plants have eliminated 214 million tons of waste coal and restored thousands of acres of land and 1,200 miles of rivers and streams,” said #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL). “Nonetheless, EPA has jeopardized the continued operation of these facilities by setting standards that are not appropriate for them. The SENSE Act addresses the problem and still requires stringent emissions reductions at these waste coal-to-energy plants, but ones that are achievable for these facilities.”