U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter to state governors April 28, 2017, informing states that EPA is working on guidelines for implementing state permitting programs under the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act to manage the safe disposal of coal combustion residuals, known as CCR or “coal ash.” Pruitt said that these new guidelines will allow for the safe disposal and continued beneficial use of coal ash, while enabling states to decide what works best for their environments.
“EPA continues to support the environmentally sound recycling of coal ash,” said Pruitt. “Through the authority granted by Congress in the WIIN Act, EPA is issuing this guidance to promote the swift submission and review of state permit programs, make state and federal management of coal ash more consistent, and place enforcement in the hands of state regulators.”
Section 2301 of the WIIN Act authorizes state permit programs to manage coal combustion residuals. Congress provided authority for states to operate permit programs, as long as the EPA determines that the state’s requirements are at least as protective as the federal standards set under the 2014 CCR Rule of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The WIIN Act also gives EPA the authority to regulate coal ash in states that choose not to implement state permitting programs and in states whose permitting programs are determined to be inadequate by EPA.