Yesterday, Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04) supported and the House passed H.R. 2218, The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013, by a vote of 265-155. This bill replaces the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposal to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste with state-oriented regulation programs.
"The top priorities of Americans across the country continue to be jobs and economic security," said Hall. "That is why I am pleased the House passed this bill, which works to support jobs across the country and in the 4th District, and also works to give families economic security through more affordable energy."
Hall continued, "On June 25, the President made a "climate change' speech where he discussed plans to circumvent Congress and the will of the American people by executive order to impose expensive new EPA regulations on new and existing power plants. Daniel P. Schrag, a White House climate adviser, then told the New York Times that "a war on coal is exactly what's needed.'
"I'm proud of the coal miners and producers in the 4th District. Thanks to their responsible coal residual reuse efforts, in the last year alone 2.7 billion pounds of combustion byproduct were recycled. The President's new regulations would essentially penalize them and put them out of business, despite the fact they have steadily lowered their emissions over the past decades. These producers are a valuable asset to the 4th District who provide affordable energy and good jobs, and I stand with my constituents in opposition to the President's "war on coal' and his "cap-and-trade' approach.
"The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act is a responsible bill that safeguards jobs, builds the economy, provides affordable energy, and protects the environment through recycling waste, and I will continue to support legislation that upholds these ideals on behalf of my constituents and all Americans."
Specifically,The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013 would:
- Put regulatory authority regarding coal residuals reuse back in the hands of state regulators, who have first-hand knowledge of their communities and a personal stake in making the places they live environmentally safe.
- Protect the 316,000 jobs currently at risk due to the Administration's new EPA proposal;
- Lower electricity costs;
- Provide for low-cost construction materials (cement, concrete, wallboard, and roofing materials) that coal ash is used to produce;
- Reduce the amount of waste going in surface impoundments and landfills; and
- Save $79-$110 billion in taxpayer dollars over 20 years that would otherwise be used for compliance costs to enforce the EPA's proposal.