Thursday, October 31, 2013

Federal judge gives EPA 60 days to decide when to revise coal ash disposal regulations

A federal judge in Washington has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to set a deadline, within sixty days, by which it will review and revise, if necessary, regulations for coal ash disposal.

The memorandum opinion by U.S. district judge Reggie Walton followed an order released last month indicating that he would rule in favor of the environmentalist plaintiffs in the case.

The Oct. 29 order is here.

EPA announced a lengthy proposed coal ash disposal rule in June 2010 but has not acted to finalize it during the ensuing three-plus years.

The agency has not reviewed existing coal ash disposal regulations, or formally revised them, since 2000. The nation's principal hazardous waste law, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, requires it do so every three years.

In 2009 Public Integrity published an investigative story that examined the damage caused by existing coal ash disposal methods. The piece provides excellent background on the issue.