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Federal water bill includes changes for coal ash regulation

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This article was originally published by Southeast Energy News and is republished here with permission. The article was written by Coal Ash Chronicles’ director Rhiannon Fionn.
On Dec. 16, and without fanfare, President Obama signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016. Though he didn’t mention it in his official statement, the bill contains an amendment that alters how coal ash will be regulated, with more oversight afforded to the states.
The WIIN Act is an infrastructure bill designed to fund dams, control floods, aid California farmers and provide clean water for residents in Flint, Michigan. Cost estimates for the bill range between $10 billion and $12 billion.
The bill also establishes a state permit program for coal ash impoundments to be supervised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That amendment is a win for the U.S. House of Representatives, which has, since 2011, seven times – including the WIIN Act –passed legislation aimed at altering the EPA’s efforts to regulate coal ash.

“This is an issue that we’ve worked on since coming to Congress six years ago, and I am pleased that we are finally able to reach an agreement between the House and Senate,” …read more