Cramer Comments on EPA Coal Ash Ruling

Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the first-ever federal regulation of coal ash, a byproduct of coal-based power production. Congressman Kevin Cramer said the decision by EPA not to declare coal ash a hazardous waste is a step in the right direction, but stressed the byproduct is better regulated by individual states.

BISMARCK, N.D. – Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the first-ever federal regulation of coal ash, a byproduct of coal-based power production. Congressman Kevin Cramer said the decision by EPA not to declare coal ash a hazardous waste is a step in the right direction, but stressed the byproduct is better regulated by individual states.

“While I do have concerns about these new federal regulations on coal ash disposal and will be reviewing their compatibility with the existing North Dakota permitting program, extreme environmental groups have lost this battle in their war on coal. Our utility companies can keep consumer electricity rates lower by taking this product to market where it has been used for projects including the National Center of Energy Excellence at Bismarck State College, wind tower footings, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, and our roads and highways,” said Congressman Cramer.

While the regulation issued today by the EPA is the first-ever federal regulation of coal ash, it stopped short of declaring the substance a hazardous waste. North Dakota maintains its own waste permitting program for coal ash. An EPA designation of the byproduct as a hazardous waste would have required the construction of entirely separate hazardous waste disposal sites, which do not currently exist in the state.

North Dakota electric utilities generate more than 3.3 million tons of coal ash each year, with Coal Creek Station in Underwood generating the third largest amount of any U.S. facility. Great River Energy recycles 100% of its coal ash at Stanton Station, and operates an 85,000 ton coal ash storage dome at Coal Creek, which recycles 450,000 out of 500,000 tons of coal ash. 

Products enhanced by North Dakota coal ash include ceramic tiles, cultured stone, carpet, paint, insulation for stoves and refrigerators, ceiling and flooring tiles, lumber, bricks and masonry, and shingles and roofing materials. 

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