By Kyleigh Nevis
The EPA is finally addressing the issue of coal ash by proposing to regulate and dispose what is now being referred to as “special waste,” which allows coal ash to be treated like hazardous waste under the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act.
However, conflict arose after the EPA issued a statement pinning enforcement on citizen suits. Critics believe the use of citizen suits to enforce compliance with EPA guidelines to be an unfair burden on the community.
Coal ash regulation and disposal guidelines are still being reviewed by the EPA and public hearings will be held to discuss the proposal’s shortcomings.
The EPA’s push toward coal ash disposal comes nearly a year and a half after Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Plant spilled 5.4 million cubic yards of ash into the Emory River near Knoxville, Tennessee. Cleanup is expected to cost $1.2 billion.
The proposal is backed by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who in March influenced Senator Byrd not to cosponsor Senator Rockefeller’s bill to place a two-year freeze on the EPA.
In the last several months, Jackson has also been a key player in raising the standards for surface mining. Requiring companies to meet stricter benchmarks will hopefully make mountaintop removal mining a dying practice, despite objections from the mining industry.
For more on the coal ash regulation: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/04/AR2010050403075.html