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Media Advisory: EPA Announces Public Hearing in Chicago Sept. 16 on Proposed Coal Ash Regulations

Release Date: 09/13/2010
Contact Information: Media Contact : Karen Thompson, thompson.karen@epa.gov, 312-353-8547

10-OPA105




CHICAGO – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is hosting a public hearing on the agency’s proposal to regulate the disposal and management of coal ash from coal-fired power plants. EPA’s proposal is the first-ever national effort to ensure the safe disposal and management of this material.

TIME: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

DATE: Thursday, Sept. 16

PLACE: Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave.

The hearing will continue past 9 p.m. if necessary. Walk-ins and written comments will be accepted at the hearing. The agency will consider the public’s comments in its final decision.

Background: The need for national management criteria and regulation was emphasized by the December 2008 spill of coal ash from a surface impoundment near Kingston, Tenn. The proposal will ensure for the first time that protective controls, such as liners and ground water monitoring, are in place at new landfills to protect ground water and human health. Existing surface impoundments will also require liners, with strong incentives to close these impoundments and transition to safer landfills which store coal ash in dry form. The proposed regulations will ensure stronger oversight of the structural integrity of impoundments and promote environmentally safe and desirable forms of recycling coal ash, known as beneficial uses.

EPA has proposed two main management approaches, one of which phases out surface impoundments and moves all coal ash to landfills; the other allows coal ash to be disposed in surface impoundments, but with stricter safety criteria.

More information about the proposed regulation:
http://www.epa.gov/coalashrule