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EPA Proposes Options for Regulating Coal Combustion Residuals

Coal combustion residuals (CCRs) generated by electric utilities and independent power producers could be regulated for the first time under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) pursuant to a proposed rule published by EPA on June 21, 2010.

EPA has proposed two options for regulating CCRs and thus two alternative regulations are presented in the proposed rule.  In the first option, EPA would list CCRs as special wastes subject to regulation under subtitle C of RCRA when they are to be disposed in landfills or surface impoundments, reversing EPA’s August 1993 and May 2000 Bevill Regulatory Determinations.  Under the second option, EPA would leave the Bevill determination in place and regulate disposal of CCRs under subtitle D of RCRA by issuing national minimum criteria.  In both options, EPA proposes to establish dam safety requirements to address the structural integrity of surface impoundments to prevent catastrophic releases.

EPA is not proposing to change the status for beneficially used CCRs, currently exempt from hazardous waste regulations; however, EPA is soliciting comment on unencapsulated uses of CCRs and whether they should continue to be exempted as a beneficial use under the Bevill exemption.  The proposed rule also does not address the placement of CCRs in mines, or non-minefill uses of CCRs at coal mine sites nor does it address non-utility boilers burning coal.

Comments on the proposed rule must be received by EPA on or before September 20, 2010.  The proposed rule is found in Volume 75, No. 118 of the Federal Register, June 21, 2010, beginning at page 35128.

If you have questions regarding the proposed rule, please contact any member of Greenebaum’s Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Practice Group

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