Mollohan Attacks EPA Proposal On Coal Ash
Congressman Alan B. Mollohan took to the Floor of the House last night to blast the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for proposing to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste.
"We must not allow the EPA to move forward with this jobs-killing proposal," Mollohan said. "This regulation would impose burdensome new costs on West Virginia's utilities, coal operations, road and infrastructure construction, and manufacturing industries."
Coal ash is the byproduct of coal combustion and has been safely treated as a nonhazardous solid waste for decades. It is also an important feedstock in cement, drywall, roofing shingles, and other manufacturing industries.
In June, the EPA issued a proposed regulation that included an option to designate coal ash as a hazardous waste and impose. Such a designation would subject coal ash to far more restrictive disposal requirements and impose billions of dollars in economic costs on the coal-fired utility sector.
Mollohan explained to his colleagues that designating it as a hazardous waste would also "stigmatize coal ash and obstruct its beneficial use in these vital, important infrastructure projects. It's counterproductive to add more waste to our landfills when we could be safely putting it to use in our roads and bridges and creating more jobs."
Mollohan added that the EPA, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, had examined the issue repeatedly and always concluded that coal ash should not be treated as a hazardous waste. "There is no compelling basis to reverse that conclusion," Mollohan said. "Regulating fly ash as a hazardous material is overkill, putting precious jobs at risk. . . . It would be deeply damaging in West Virginia and throughout the Nation."
Mike Caputo, International Vice President of the United Mine Workers of America, praised Mollohan's position, adding that "this is another example of how Congressman Mollohan is always out front defending our jobs and our economy."
The EPA is accepting written comments on the proposed rule through November 19, 2010. Members of the public who wish to submit comments online can do so by visiting www.regulations.gov and entering this docket number: EPA-HQ-RCRA-2009-0640.