EPA’s Coal Ash Rule: Implications for Regulated Entities, Results for the Environment
By Tom Mounteer
The disposal of coal ash, a combustion byproduct from coal-fired power plants, came to national attention when, on December 22, 2008, the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston power plant suffered one of the largest coal ash spills in history. The Duke Energy Dan River spill on February 2, 2014, reignited the focus on the handling of coal ash. In December 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator signed a rule that, for the first time, regulates the disposal of coal ash. Under the new rule, coal ash is to be regulated as a solid waste under Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, not as a hazardous waste. The rule also provides new national minimum criteria for the coal ash disposal. On March 24, 2015, the Environmental Law Institute convened a panel of experts to provide an in-depth examination of the final coal ash rule. Below we present a transcript of the discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.