Coal ash provision removed from transportation bill - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Coal ash provision removed from transportation bill

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When House and Senate conferees finally came to agreement on June 27 over the Surface Transportation Act of 2012, it was in part by removing the amendment that was Rep. David McKinley's coal ash bill.

"It's a shame our colleagues in the Senate wanted to make this more of a political statement in their ongoing War on Coal rather than an issue about jobs and the environment," McKinley, R-W.Va., wrote in a prepared statement.

McKinley's October 2011 Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act has been stalled in the Senate.

The bill would prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating coal ash as hazardous waste, reserving regulation of its disposal to the states.

In one of a number of attempts to revive the bill, the House added it on April 18 as an amendment to the Surface Transportation Extension Act.

"The chance to save thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in costs now rests in the Senate's hands," McKinley said at the time.

West Virginia Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin previously signed on as co-sponsors of a bill similar to McKinley's.

But Rockefeller, who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, told Politico in April that the amendment was "going down," adding that there had been an "evolution" in his position.

Rockefeller's statement on the bill did not mention the coal ash amendment.

The EPA released two proposals in June 2010 for regulating coal ash, and many believe the agency will not act further before the presidential election in November.

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