EPA’s rule said to favor repurposing and recycling – over landfills or disposal ponds.
Ken Silverstein is Editor-at-Large for Public Utilities Fortnightly. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the 2008 winter holidays, residents of Kingston, Tenn. woke up to what has since been labeled the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history - 100 times worse than the Exxon Valdez accident. Now, six years later, the nation is learning about the long-awaited federal rules to be applied to utilities and their coal ash ponds.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which issued its final rule last month, has tried to balance the needs of utilities that operate existing coal ash deposits with the concerns of communities that fear that such ponds will leak into waterways, or even worse, burst open and wreak havoc. In the process, it has pleased few, with the most ardent supporters of coal saying that this is the administration's last attempt to bury the fossil fuel industry while environmentalist movement is saying that the president and regulators have caved to the coal-fired utility industry. (See, Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System; Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Elec. Utils., Dkt. No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2009-0640, issued Dec. 19, 2015.)