Senate passes coal ash provisions

Coal ash management, ­according to electric cooperatives, requires clear authority, certainty and ­common sense. That’s what co-op leaders said the Senate delivered in major legislation.

Provisions critical for addressing coal ash-coal combustion residuals from electric generation-cleared the Senate as part of the Water Resources Development Act, S. 2848, in a 95-3 vote Sept. 15.

“These provisions inject some greatly needed certainty into the regulation of coal ash, much of which is recycled to provide tremendous economic and environmental ­benefits,” said National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson.

“By giving state agencies the authority to enforce federal coal ash ­regulations, the bill provides increased certainty surrounding the ­application of the regulations and also limits litigation, which is important to their safe ­management and continued ­beneficial use.”

At Seminole Electric Cooperative in Tampa, Fla., CEO Lisa Johnson said, “We recycle hundreds of ­thousands of tons of coal combustion residuals every year into beneficial products like wallboard and concrete block. If we were unable to recycle this material, it would be landfilled.”