Fly Ash Bill still in W.Va. transportation legislation
(The Herald-Star 6-23-2012) Wheeling - Rep. David B. McKinley passed legislation Thursday instructing a House conference committee not to "trade off" his fly ash amendment when they seek compromise next week with the Senate on the federal Transportation Bill.
The House approved the "motion to instruct conferees" by a vote of 260-138. Voting in favor were Reps. McKinley and Shelley Moore Capito, both R-W.Va., Bob Gibbs and Bill Johnson, both R-Ohio, and Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.
McKinley attached his fly ash legislation, House Resolution 2273, as an amendment to the proposed Federal Transportation Bill in April after the Senate failed to take up the original legislation for a vote. The House passed HR 2273 in October 2011.
HR 2273 seeks to keep fly ash from being regulated as a hazardous substance by the Environmental Protection Agency, and it would allow fly ash to continue to be recycled and used in the production of such products as concrete.
"I talked with leadership, and they agreed there was a need to emphasize to the conference committee that there are a lot of things to be traded in the bill - but don't trade the coal ash bill," McKinley said.
He added he is seeking to educate Senate members about the provisions of his amendment, and the rationale behind it.
"If it is not included in the bill, we could revert back to the wrong way of disposing coal ash," McKinley said. "After 30 years, we might now be making progress in how to dispose of fly ash. It's 2012, and we shouldn't be using methods from the 1950s. I am aware, if fly ash is handled improperly, it can cause problems."
He said there are actually two parts to new fly ash regulations being proposed by the EPA. The first prohibits fly ash from being recycled and used in the production of many products, and McKinley said he opposes this part of the regulations.
He supports, however, the second aspect of the bill pertaining to disposal methods for fly ash. For example, he said the new regulations require monitoring wells near fly ash sites to periodically test ground water, and requires that all new impoundments have liners.
"If (the fly ash amendment) doesn't pass, we don't have anything," McKinley said. "We'll go back to the status quo, and that is not acceptable."
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