The House Committee on Energy and Commerce today advanced four pieces of legislation that seek to improve environmental regulations, increase state authority in certain regulatory programs, and protect jobs.
H.R. 2218, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, authored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), was approved with bipartisan support by a vote of 31 to 16. This commonsense legislation sets up a state-based regulatory program for the safe management, reuse, and disposal of coal residuals. By providing a practical alternative to EPA's proposal to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste, the bill will help preserve beneficial reuse program and help keep energy costs low. American workers and utility groups have voiced strong support for the balanced legislation.
H.R. 2226, the Federal and State Partnership for Environmental Protection Act, authored by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), passed the committee by a vote of 27 to 19. The bill increases states' participation in the superfund process by amending provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) relating to state consultation on removal and remediation actions, state concurrence with listing on the National Priorities List, and state credit for contributions to the removal or remediation action.
H.R. 2279, the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act, authored by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), passed the committee by a vote of 25 to 18. This legislation removes two impractical and unnecessary deadlines under the Solid Waste Disposal Act (commonly referred to as RCRA) and CERCLA. The legislation also protects the financial responsibility requirements of states and other federal agencies by ensuring that financial responsibility requirements promulgated by EPA under CERCLA will not preempt existing requirements unless EPA determines it is necessary.
H.R. 2318, the Federal Facility Accountability Act, authored by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), was approved by a vote of 26 to 18. The legislation ensures the federal government is a good neighbor when operating a site subject to a superfund cleanup by requiring federal facilities to comply with relevant state and local laws during the CERCLA process.
"This week we took an important step toward enacting four pieces of legislation to protect human health and the environment, reduce red tape, protect jobs, and improve the partnership between the federal government and our states," said chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). "Washington does not always know best. We have a strong working relationship with our states, and these fours bills reflect that ongoing partnership."