EPA says the rule will help prevent future coal ash spills by putting up more safeguards, culminating in monetized benefits of $289 million per year.
While millions of Americans began their holiday travels last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency had an early Christmas gift for the coal industry: a new regulation on coal ash from power plants.
“EPA is taking action to protect our communities from the risk of mismanaged coal ash disposal units, and putting in place safeguards to help prevent the next catastrophic coal ash impoundment failure, which can cost millions for local businesses, communities and states,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement.
After years of delays, the EPA finalized the nation’s first federal coal ash rule just in time for Christmas, which has got coal-fired power plant operators fuming. The coal ash rule not only comes with a hefty $735 million per year price tag, but the coal industry also argues it creates lots of uncertainty for plant operators.
“We still have concerns with the self-implementing nature of the rule and the way in which EPA has left the door open to one day regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste, creating additional uncertainty for electric utilities,” said Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute.