Key Vote Letter Supporting H.R. 2273, the "Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act"
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly supports H.R. 2273, the “Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act.”
This bill has earned broad and deep support because it would protect public health and the environment by building on state programs to safely regulate coal combustion residuals (CCR) without unduly burdening already strained state budgets and staff resources, hamstringing the vital CCR reuse industry, or killing jobs. Specifically, H.R. 2273 would:
- Ensure that CCR disposal facilities are subject to enforceable permits under a state administered program that meets minimum federal requirements;
- Establish a federal floor for state regulation by applying the controls already in place for municipal solid waste landfills with additional controls tailored specifically for CCR impoundments, while providing EPA with oversight authority if a state fails to meet certain conditions and preserving a state’s prerogative to regulate more stringently than the federal floor if it chooses to do so; and
- Preserve the CCR beneficial use industry and the tens of thousands of American jobs in the many key industries that rely on CCRs to improve the quality, reduce the cost and enhance the environmental performance of their products.
The need for Congressional direction on this matter is compelling. If EPA follows through with its proposal to classify CCRs as hazardous waste, the resulting regulations would likely force between 184,000 and 316,000 people out of work. Even if EPA decides to treat CCRs as non-hazardous waste, the agency’s regulations would likely cost between 39,000 and 65,000 jobs.1
The mere specter of EPA action has chilled the CCR reuse industry, impacting numerous other core industries such as road construction and building industries. Furthermore, EPA has ignored clear Congressional commands requiring the agency to evaluate the impact of CCR regulation on the use of coal and other natural resources and to evaluate the potential job losses or shifts which may result from the agency’s actions before it proposes to regulate.
The Chamber strongly urges you to approve H.R. 2273. The Chamber may consider votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 2273 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten
1 Veritas Economic Consulting, “An Economic Assessment of the Net Employment Impacts from Regulating Coal Combustion Residuals,” June 2011.