Amendments to GOP Budget Bill Seek to Prevent Coal Ash Regulation as Hazardous Waste, PCB Cleanup, and More


Image: wvhighlands.org

If you're reading TreeHugger, you're probably aware of the environmental and health problems with coal ash and the debate surrounding whether or not the EPA will decide to classify it as hazardous waste.

The agency is currently weighing proposals for coal ash regulation. One of those proposals would classify the substance as hazardous waste, but two of the amendments tacked onto the GOP budget bill, which itself is bad enough, would prevent the EPA from enforcing any such rule. And they're just two of more than 400 amendments that deserve a little more attention than they've been getting.Amendment 217, sponsored by West Virginia Congressman David McKinley, would prohibit EPA funding for a subtitle C (hazardous waste) rule, essentially forcing the agency to choose subtitle D, meaning coal ash would continue to be classified as nonhazardous.

Amendment 10, from Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns, would do the same thing. Lisa Evans, senior counsel with Earthjustice, wrote: "EPA's only option would be to issue guidelines for states that not mandatory and that are unenforceable by EPA."

But there are so many more. ThinkProgress compiled them into a frightening list—here's a sampler, but you'll see even more if you visit the original post.

Amendment 10 Stearns (R-FL) To stop EPA from developing or issuing standards that list coal ash as hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

Amendment 13 Rooney (R-FL) To stop EPA from using its funding to implement, administer or enforce new water quality standards for Florida's lakes and flowing waters, which were issued in November.

Amendment 109 Griffith (R-VA) To stop EPA from using its funding to implement or enforce new guidance for the review of possible water pollution from proposed coal-mining projects

Amendment 127 Young (R-AK) To stop EPA from regulating air pollution from Arctic offshore drilling

Amendment 152 Jenkins (R-KS) To prevent funding the cleanup of pesticides and PCBs from the Great Plains Industrial Park (formerly the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant)

Amendment 192 Biggert (R-IL) To eliminate the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency

Amendment 198 Poe (R-TX) To stop EPA from creating a cap-and-trade program or enforcing any other regulations for greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act

Amendment 207 Jones (R-NC) To block penalties for illegal fisheries activities

Amendment 216 McKinley (R-WV) To stop EPA from administering or enforcing the sections of the Clean Water Act that govern dredge-and-fill permits, i.e. mountaintop-removal

Amendment 217 McKinley (R-WV) To stop coal ash rules

Amendment 218 Johnson (R-OH) To stop EPA from issuing new rules for the circumstances under which mining may be conducted near streams or from conducting an environmental impact statement on the impact of the rules; e.g. mountaintop removal

Some of the amendments (not listed here) actually seem promising, but they're far outnumbered and outweighed by the efforts to gut what little resources exist to protect people's health and the environment.

More on coal ash
600 Coal Ash Dump Sites Found in 35 States: Is There One Near You?
EPA Claiming Coal Ash Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions
It's a Matter of National Security: Gov Refuses to Reveal Hundreds of Hazardous Coal Ash Sites
Overview of Recent Toxic Coal Ash Spills
39 More Toxic Coal Ash Sites Found to Contaminate US Water Supply With Arsenic & Heavy Metals
More about EPA and coal ash as hazardous waste
EPA Gets Coal Ash Hazardous Waste Regulation Do Over in Obama Presidency (Video)
EPA Opens Public Comment Period on Coal Ash. What Happens If It's Not Regulated as Hazardous Waste?
Which Senators Refuse to Let Coal Ash Be Regulated as Hazardous Waste?

Tags: Coal | Congress | Energy | EPA | Pollution | Waste