Portland Cement Association encouraged by coal ash legislation
The Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015, approved by the House with 258-166 bipartisan vote on July 22, was sponsored by U.S. Rep. David McKinley, (R-WV). McKinley said the bill would codify a recent decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate coal ash under the solid waste provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
“Every year we recycle more than 17 million tons of coal ash into concrete. We look at this as a great success story: less waste into landfills, less cost and better concrete," PCA President and CEO James Toscas said. "This is a classic case of U.S. industries working together to benefit both the environment and the economy."
Coal ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants, has been successfully recycled into concrete for decades, improving the durability of concrete. Proposals had been made to treat this ash as a hazardous waste, which would have curtailed, if not completely stopped, recycling.
The EPA recently decided that coal ash should, for the time being, not be regulated as a hazardous waste. The legislation would codify the EPA determination into law.