Republicans looking to override EPA rules on coal ash

The bill up in the House next week, H.R. 2273, would allow states to adopt and implement coal ash permit programs, and create minimum standards for regulation of coal ash. The bill would let states notify the EPA that they have a program in place on coal ash, or allow the EPA to run a similar program for states that choose not to set up their own program.

Republicans say the bill is needed because the EPA might be on the verge of setting out rules that would cost more than $100 billion in compliance costs for coal-burning power plants, and as a result, more than 100,000 job losses.

"Here in West Virginia, we know the negative impact the EPA's War on Coal is having on our economy," said Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), who sponsored the bill. "Their proposed coal ash rule will not only hurt coal, but it will also damage dozens of other industries and eliminate jobs across the country."

McKinley's bill is scheduled to be considered next Friday.

According to the EPA, coal ash is currently a waste product that is exempt from regulation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and is typically a residue from the burning of coal in power plants.

House Republicans have spent the last few weeks targeting various EPA rules. Earlier this week, the House approved a bill delaying EPA regulations on cement plant emissions, and next week will also look to pass a bill delaying EPA rules on boilers. That follows September passage of a bill delaying other EPA rules and requiring an analysis of EPA rules on the economy.