“Coal Ash: Enviros Ask D.C. Circuit To Scrutinize Disposal Rule”

“Nine environmental groups are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review an EPA rule that pushed back deadlines for utilities to begin closing unlined coal ash disposal sites.

The Obama administration gave coal ash ponds lacking leak prevention until April 2019 to initiate closing. But the D.C. Circuit struck down other aspects of that rule for being too lenient.

As part of its piecemeal approach to rehashing the regulations, President Trump's EPA in July released a rule that extended the deadline to stop adding coal ash to unlined ponds until April 2021 (Greenwire, July 30).

Operators of large coal ash ponds have until 2028 to complete closure under the latest regulations. Other extensions could bring the date of closure for impoundments greater than 40 acres to 2038, said attorney Lisa Evans of Earthjustice, which is representing environmental groups in the challenge.”

James Marshall reports for E&E News November 24, 2020.