A consent decree inked by Headwaters and other parties to the Appalachian Voices v. Gina McCarthy lawsuit was delivered to the Washington D.C. U.S. District Court on January 29. The document calls on the EPA to submit a federal register regarding EPA’s proposed revision of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle D concerning coal combustion residuals.
“In either the legislative or regulatory approach, the prospect of an unwarranted and damaging ‘hazardous waste’ designation for coal ash is eliminated and uncertainty removed,” said CEO Kirk Benson. “Regulatory certainty will help us grow the beneficial use of coal ash — safely keeping the material out of disposal facilities, creating economic and environmental value.”
In 2012, Headwaters first sued the EPA to force a deadline for finalizing coal ash disposal regulations first proposed in 2010. The RCRA proposal created uncertainty on beneficial coal combustion products, the company said; the justices agreed, ordering EPA officials to propose a date for revision finalization.
However, according to Headwaters officials, Congressional lawmakers may still amend the RCRA and require states to enforce national Federal Subtitle D nonhazardous waste standards for coal ash disposal under state-issued permits. These legislatively required permits could improve overall management of coal ash disposal if enacted.