The House has approved a bill granting states authority to regulate waste generated from coal burned for electricity.
The vote bypasses an EPA rule last year, which set the first national standards to treat coal ash more like household garbage than a hazardous material.
The protections were prompted by a December 2008 accident at an eastern Tennessee coal plant, which dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of ash into nearby rivers – an amount greater than all the crude oil that spilled in the 2010 BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. This bill is so risky that the Obama Administration yesterday issued a strong statement of opposition and warned, “If the President were presented with H.R. 1734 as drafted, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill”.