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Legislative and Regulatory Timeline for Fossil Fuel Combustion Wastes

This timeline walks through the history of fossil fuel combustion waste regulation since 1976 and includes information such as regulations, proposals, notices, amendments, reports and meetings and site visits conducted.

Date(s) Action or Event Notes on Significance to Fossil Fuel Combustion Wastes

10/21/1976

Enactment of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)  

12/18/1978

EPA proposes first set of hazardous waste management standards Wastes from the combustion of fossil fuels are proposed to be designated as one of the six “special wastes”, which are exempt from RCRA Subtitle C regulations

10/12/1980

Solid Waste Disposal Act Amendments enacted Bevill amendment added: temporarily exempts three special wastes from hazardous waste regulation until further study is completed

11/19/1980

EPA promulgates interim final amendments to the hazardous waste regulations

Includes an exclusion for fossil fuel combustion wastes from the definition of hazardous waste

10/31/1982

EPA misses the statutory deadline for submitting fossil fuel combustion waste report to Congress  

02/1988

EPA submits “Report to Congress on Wastes from the Combustion of Coal by Electric Utility Power Plants Report only addressed wastes generated from combustion of coal by electric utility power plants and not co-managed utility coal combustion wastes, other fossil fuel combustion wastes, and wastes from non-utility boilers

08/31/1988

EPA misses the statutory deadline for making a regulatory determination on the wastes described in February 1988 report

 

06/1991

The Bull Run Coalition in Oregon files a suit against EPA for failure to complete the regulatory determinations on the 1988 report on the wastes studied and not studied

 

06/30/1992

EPA enters into a consent decree that establishes a schedule to complete all regulatory determinations

The EPA divides fossil fuel combustion wastes into two categories: (1) fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas emission control waste from coal burning utilities, and (2) all the remaining wastes identified

08/09/1993

EPA publishes “Part 1 Regulatory Determination” for large-volume utility coal combustion wastes

EPA determines that fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas emission control dust from coal burning utilities do not apply to Subtitle C and are excluded from the definition of hazardous waste under RCRA

03/31/1999

A “Report to Congress on Wastes from the Combustion of Fossil Fuels ” was submitted by the EPA
 

This report addressed the remaining wastes not addressed in the 1988 report

05/22/2000

EPA publishes a “Regulatory Determination on Wastes from the Combustion of Fossil Fuels” in the Federal Register

EPA concludes that national non-hazardous waste regulations under Subtitle D are needed for coal combustion wastes disposed of in landfills and surface impoundments and used as minefill. EPA retains the hazardous waste exemption for the remaining wastes. EPA also determines that beneficial uses of these wastes pose no significant risk (other than for minefilling) and no additional national regulation is needed.

05/2001-10/2002

The Interstate Mining Compact Commission conducts four Mine Placement of Coal Combustion Waste Meetings

The purpose of these meetings was to collect and analyze technical and regulatory information related to minefilling of coal combustion waste

09/2001-10/2002 EPA conducts site visits to collect information regarding the regulation of coal combustion waste minefill management practices  
05/19 - 05/20/2003 EPA holds a stakeholders meeting on Minefill Practices for Coal Combustion Residue  
03/23-05/05/2004 EPA holds four public meetings to learn more about the use and disposal of coal combustion byproducts  
03/01/2006 The National Academy of Sciences issues a report Exiton the placement of coal combustion wastes in coal mines EPA is working with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) as they amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act regulations
03/14/2007 OSMRE publishes an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking about the placement of coal combustion byproducts in active and abandoned coal mines  
08/29/2007 EPA publishes a notice of data availability on the disposal of coal combustion waste in landfills and surface impoundments.  
03/09/2009 EPA began mailing information request letters to electric utilities and corporations that have surface impoundments or similar units that contain coal combustion residuals. These letters requested information to assist EPA in evaluating the structural integrity of these management units.
06/21/2010 For the first time, EPA proposes to regulate the disposal of coal combustion residuals from electric utilities EPA proposes two possible options for the disposal of coal combustion residuals to address the risks from the combustion of coal at electric utilities and independent power producers.
08/20/2010 EPA publishes a proposed rule making several administrative corrections to the June 21, 2010 proposal, extending the comment period, and announcing additional public hearings.  
10/21/2010 EPA publishes a notice of data availability on coal combustion residual surface impoundments. This notice announces the availability of responses to information requests that EPA sent to electric utilities on their coal combustion residual surface impoundments as well as reports and materials related to the site assessments that EPA conducted on a subset of these units and seeks public comment.  

10/12/2011

EPA publishes a notice of data availability on additional information regarding the June 21, 2010 disposal of coal combustion residuals from electric utilities proposed rule. This notice announced and invited comments on additional information in conjunction with the June 21, 2010 proposed rule including chemical constituent and facility and waste management unit data, information on additional alleged damage cases, adequacy of state programs; and beneficial use.
08/02/2013 EPA publishes a notice of data availability on Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities This notice requests comment on additional data in conjunction with the June 21, 2010 proposed rule to supplement the Regulatory Impact Analysis and risk assessment; information on large scale fill; and data on the surface impoundment structural integrity assessments.
12/19/2014 EPA signs the final rule on disposal of coal combustion residuals from electric. EPA finalized national regulations providing a comprehensive set of requirements for the disposal of coal combustion residuals as solid waste under subtitle D of RCRA.
04/17/2015 The final rule on disposal of coal combustion residuals from electric utilities was published in the Federal Register
07/02/2015 EPA published a final rule correcting the effective date of the disposal of coal combustion residuals final rule to October 19, 2015.  

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