New Legislation Introduced to Prevent Fly Ash Regulations

Legislation to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating coal ash disposal and instead allow states to manage oversight of the waste has been introduced by a bipartisan group of senators. Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Hoeven (R-ND) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) were joined by over a dozen other co-sponsors for H.R. 2273, "The Coal Residual Reuse and Management Act." Ever since a release from a coal ash disposal facility in Tennessee in 2008, there has been pressure on EPA to designate coal ash as a hazardous waste and to issue regulations on its use.

AGC has opposed these restrictions because of the significant negative repercussions for the use of fly ash in concrete and other construction recycling applications and because of potential contractor liability from using this product. Legislation passed the House in October by a vote of 267-144, with 37 Democrats voting in favor to prevent EPA from taking this action. That bill was initially included as an amendment in the transportation reauthorization bill, MAP-21, but the coal ash language was dropped when the bill reached final negotiations.

A bill identical to the House version was introduced in the Senate, but did not have the needed support for enactment. The new bill is intended as a compromise to garner the support necessary to have it approved in this Congress. H.R. 2273 give states the choice of creating their own regulatory systems as long as they follow certain federal guidelines. EPA would be able to step in if a state chooses not to regulate coal ash disposal or if its program proves flawed. AGC will continue to work in support of this effort.

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or

Associated General Contractors of America