By a bipartisan vote of 258 to 166, the US House of Representatives today passed legislation that will promote continued recycling of coal ash, a move which the Portland Cement Association (PCA) considers to be good for both the environment and the economy.
The 'Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015,' (H.R. 1734), sponsored by Rep. David McKinley, (R-WV), codifies a recent decision by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate coal ash under the 'solid waste' provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
The PCA notes that proposals had been made to treat coal ash as a hazardous waste, which would have curtailed, if not completely stopped, recycling.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently decided that coal ash should for the time being not be regulated as a hazardous waste, but there has been uncertainty that this position could change. H.R. 1734 would codify the EPA determination into law, the PCA notes.
"Every year we recycle more than 17Mt of coal ash into concrete," said James G Toscas, president and CEO of the PCA. "We look at this as a great success story: less waste into landfills, less cost, and better concrete. This is a classic case of U.S. industries working together to benefit both the environment and the economy. EPA did the right thing in preserving the rules that allow this recycling, and the House did the right thing in ensuring that they continue to be preserved."