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McKinley's Coal Ash Amendment Passes House

Washington, D.C. The House of Representative passed an amendment on coal ash sponsored by Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) as part of the Surface Transportation Extension Act.

 “This is about protecting jobs and maximizing government construction dollars,” said McKinley. “More than 316,000 jobs will be saved if this provision is adopted.”

 “We have done our part in fighting for these jobs and ensuring we keep costs down on road construction projects. Now, we’re looking to the Senate and its leadership to do the same,” McKinley added. 

 Coal ash is a byproduct of the coal combustion process and is used in material for building highways and bridges around the country. Dozens of government and private organizations, ranging from the Environmental Council of States to labor unions, support the safe use of coal ash.

 “Coal ash recyclers nationwide are grateful to Rep. McKinley for his relentless pursuit of a solution that removes the regulatory uncertainty that is already harming recycling in the United States,” said John Ward, Chairman of Citizens for Recycling First. “This legislation would get real and effective coal ash disposal regulations in place immediately while allowing recyclers to get back to work doing what’s really best for the environment – keeping coal ash out of landfills in the first place.”

 In 2009, the EPA and the Obama Administration began a process that would change the designation of coal ash, and potentially regulate it as a hazardous material.  According to a Veritas Economic Report, such a move would cost the economy 316,000 jobs. 

 It would also increase costs with road and bridge building by $110 billion dollars over the next 20 years, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders’ Association.

 “After fighting hard on this issue for over a year, I’m grateful for my colleagues’ support. The chance to save thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in costs now rests in the Senate’s hands,” said McKinley. 

 The coal ash bill, H.R. 2273, originally passed the House in October 2011 by a vote of 267-144, with 37 Democrats supporting it.  The Senate has yet to take action on the bill. With Wednesday’s vote, the House Surface Transportation Extension Act will go to a conference with the Senate.