EPA Director Scott Pruitt wrote letters to states informing them that the EPA is working on “guidance” for states on permitting programs for disposal and beneficial uses of coal ash.
The letters signal a loosening of what the EPA had been pushing in terms of regulating coal ash disposal. Many states had been considering or passing legislation mandating coal ash be moved from ponds and put into special landfills or dealt with by other methods.
The Washington Examiner has more:
Advocates of the rules have said the change will weaken the coal regulations at the federal level by allowing states to dictate the terms of compliance as long as they have rules that are similar to EPA's.
"EPA expects that its new guidance will allow for the safe disposal and continued beneficial use of coal ash, while enabling states to decide what works best for their environment," the agency said. Coal ash is used in a number of products for the building industry, such as dry wall, bricks and concrete.
The Obama coal ash regulations have made it increasingly difficult and costly to handle the waste from coal power plants, prompting critics to include them in Obama's "war on coal."