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EPA proposes approval of Georgia’s coal ash permit programme

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World Coal,

On 24 June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to approve Georgia’s permit programme for the disposal of coal combustion residuals – commonly known as coal ash – from certain coal-fired power plants.

“EPA encourages other states to follow Georgia’s lead and assume oversight of coal ash management within their borders,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA is committed to working with the states as they establish coal ash programmes tailored to their unique circumstances that are protective of human health and the environment.”

EPA has preliminarily determined that Georgia’s permit programme application meets the standard for approval. The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016 granted EPA the authority to approve of state permit programmes.

Major portions of the 2015 rule that established national standards for the disposal of coal ash are in effect and remain unchallenged. EPA will be addressing a limited number of provisions in future rulemakings, but this need not delay states seeking approval now. The WIIN Act contains provisions for how and when states must update their approved programmes when changes are made on the federal level.

EPA is seeking comment on this proposed approval during a 60 day public comment period and will be holding a public hearing in Atlanta in August about the proposal.

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