This bill aims to increase state autonomy, by giving them the power choose their own programs for disposing of coal ash — the byproduct of burning coal for electricity.
If the bill is passed, state governors would have six months to decide if they’re going to set up a coal ash program. If they do, they then have 24 months to get their program certified. Applications for certification would have to include:
- A list of the state agencies that would be involved in running the program;
- A plan for how the program is going to meet current compliance, enforcement, and public participation regulations;
- A plan for coal ash spills;
- And a plan for working with other states.
Though much of the bill links these coal ash programs with the federal laws to which they have to comply, it does allow states to come up with their own alternatives to federal regulations. Specifically, it allows states to come up with their own standards on groundwater protection, when it’s necessary to take action on leaks, and the operation of unlined storage facilities.
The bill also comes with standards on how to deal with inactive storage sites.