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Baker Botts Environmental Lawyers Comment on Reform Coal Ash Regulation


WASHINGTON, September 16, 2016 - The U.S. Senate passed legislation to reform coal ash regulation by a vote of 95-3. The reform was passed as part of the Water Resources Development Act ("WRDA"), S. 2848, and would amend the Solid Waste Disposal Act.

Baker Botts lawyers Joshua Frank, Bart Seitz and Martha Thomsen are available to comment.

Under current federal regulations, the standards applicable to coal ash disposal units (set forth in EPA's 2015 Coal Ash Rule) are enforceable primarily by citizen suit. Under the Senate bill, states would now be authorized to directly regulate coal ash disposal by implementing state permitting programs subject to EPA’s approval.

"While the House still must approve the Senate bill, S. 2848 would provide welcome improvements for EPA's coal ash rule," said Baker Botts D.C. Environmental partner, Bart Seitz. "The adoption of state permit programs for implementing and enforcing the EPA’s technical standards for coal ash landfills and impoundments should provide greater regulatory certainty for industry, and could limit the need for enforcement via private citizen suit actions."

The House passed a similar, but not identical, bill last summer.


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