7 Public Hearings Set on Proposed Coal Ash Regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is hosting seven public hearings on its proposal to regulate the disposal and management of coal ash from coal-fired power plants.

Each hearing will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 9 p.m. with a break at noon and 5 p.m. local time. The hearings will continue past 9 p.m. if necessary. People who wish for a guaranteed slot to speak must register no later than three business days before each hearing. Additionally, walk-ins and written comments will be accepted at each hearing. The agency will consider the public’s comments in its final decision.

The hearings will be on:

  • Aug. 30: Hyatt Regency, 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Va.
  • Sept. 2: Grand Hyatt, 1750 Welton St., Denver, Colo.
  • Sept. 8: Hyatt Regency Dallas, 300 Reunion Blvd., Dallas, Texas
  • Sept. 14: Holiday Inn Charlotte (Airport), 2707 Little Rock Rd., Charlotte, N.C.
  • Sept. 16: Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill.
  • Sept. 21: Omni Hotel, 530 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Sept. 28: Seelbach Hilton, 500 Fourth Street, Louisville, Ky.

To pre-register to speak at the hearings, call 703.308.8429 or sign up online at www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/industrial/special/fossil/ccr-rule/ccr-form.htm.

The need for national management criteria and regulation was emphasized by the December 2008 spill of coal ash from a surface impoundment near Kingston, Tenn. The proposal will ensure for the first time that protective controls, such as liners and groundwater monitoring, are in place at new landfills to protect groundwater and human health. Existing surface impoundments will also require liners, with strong incentives to close these impoundments and transition to safer landfills that store coal ash in dry form. The proposed regulations will ensure stronger oversight of the structural integrity of impoundments and promote environmentally safe and desirable forms of recycling coal ash, known as beneficial uses.

EPA has proposed two main management approaches, one of which phases out surface impoundments and moves all coal ash to landfills; the other allows coal ash to be disposed in surface impoundments, but with stricter safety criteria.

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