Coal Ash Law Blog

December 23rd, 2014

The USEPA has issued the long anticipated coal ash Final Rule.  The federal Court had ordered a deadline of December 19, 2014 for the coal ash disposal Rule. To get to this point, several entities sued the EPA over the coal ash regulations initially proposed in 2010 and delayed by inaction.

The parties to the lawsuits, included several environmental groups and private corporations such as Headwaters and Boral created a force that generated the necessary pressure to have a Federal Judge order the EPA to complete the review and issue the rule.

To see the EPA website and review the entire posting for the 2014 Final Rule on Coal Combustion Residuals Generated by Electric Utilities, click here.

USEPA supports the beneficial use of coal fly ash in concrete and FGD gypsum in wallboard. The Agency believes these beneficial uses provide significant opportunities to advance Sustainable Materials Management (SMM).  Previously during 2014, EPA released a “risk evaluation methodology” dealing with coal ash and applied that methodology to a study of two specific beneficial uses – fly ash in concrete and synthetic gypsum in wallboard. The EPA’s study concluded “…environmental releases of constituents of potential concern…from CCR fly ash concrete and FGD gypsum wallboard during use by the consumer are comparable to or lower than those from analogous non-CCR products, or are at or below relevant regulatory and health-based benchmarks for human and ecological receptors…”

The EPA Final Rule makes the call on which alternative is to guide the regulation of coal ash disposal.  The 2010 proposed rules were alternatives between the Subtitle C and the Subtitle D of the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).    Subtitle D regulation governs disposal of solid wastes.  The recycling industry was concerned regulation as Subtitle C as a hazardous waste would be damaging to the recycling efforts and would drive pricing for electricity to unseen heights.