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EPA honors petition to examine coal combustion residuals’ beneficial reuse

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency; CP staff

EPA has granted petitions to reconsider the definition of beneficial reuse and other substantive provisions of the final rule regulating coal combustion residuals (CCR) as nonhazardous waste under subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The 2015 rule regulates how CCR generated from electric utilities and independent power producers are managed in surface impoundments and landfills.

Agency officials determined that their action is in the public’s interest based in part on the Water Infrastructure for Improvements to the Nation (WIIN) Act. Signed into law late last year, it authorizes states to operate permit programs under subtitle D of RCRA provided the EPA deems state requirements are as protective as the standards in the final CCR rule or successor regulations.

“In light of EPA’s new statutory authority, it is important that we give the existing rule a hard look and consider improvements that may help states tailor their permit programs to [their] needs in a way that provides greater regulatory certainty, while also ensuring that human health and the environment remain protected,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Utility Solid Waste Activities Group and AES Puerto Rico LLP petitions seek reconsideration of specific CCR rule provisions, including those prohibiting the use of alternative points of compliance for ground water contamination; regulating inactive surface impoundments; defining what activities constitute beneficial use of CCR; and, addressing certain on-site storage practices.

 

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