Coal / Coal Ash

Looking to ‘get ahead’ of coal ash issues, utilities support bill for stronger state oversight

Photo credit: Wikipedia commons

Photo credit: Wikipedia commons

Utilities are throwing their weight behind an amendment that would give states a bigger role in regulating coal ash disposal

WASHINGTON, DC — “On Oct. 17th, utilities submitted their compliance plans for the EPA’s 2014 Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) rule, the first national standard for the safe handling of coal ash waste. But there’s an amendment in the works that could change how industry is handling the issue.

Submission of compliance plans is an event, long awaited by environmental groups and communities, that signifies is a step forward in regulation on coal ash waste disposal. But many advocates worry that the rules, enforced by citizen suits and not the EPA, could allow for irresponsible coal ash disposal.

Lawmakers are asking the same question and have introduced an amendment on the Water Resources Development Act that they hope will offer states enhanced regulatory oversight on the utility industry as well as grant more certainty on the handling of coal ash.”

Utility CEOs want to be proactive, turn misfortune into opportunity

“CEOs of major electric utilities have been seriously looking at coal ash disposal, said Quinlan Shea, vice president of environment at the Edison Electric Institute, the trade group for IOUs. They especially want to avoid costly costly litigation battles or the reputational, economic, and environmental consequences of a potential coal ash spill.

‘The CEO community is really concerned about this issue,’ Shea said at a press roundtable in Washington. ‘We’ve had the TVA and we’ve had the Duke spill, so we are trying to handle this judiciously, in the most-effective manner, and in the best way for our customers.’

‘If you go through a year down the road and there is a spill, it is not going to be relegated down to the engineers; the CEOs are going to be hands on with this, and there’s going to be a lot of outreach and proactivity.’

Duke Energy, for instance, is now shelling out $6 million dollars in fines for its Dan River spill in 2014, which involved a pipe bursting at the Eden plant and a subsequent release of 30,000 tons of sludge that violated federal clean water laws, reports CBS News.”

— Shalina Chatlani, Utility Dive

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