West Virginia Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin are sponsoring a bill to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from classifying fly ash as a hazardous material.
The two senators are co-sponsors of the “Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act,” first introduced in the House by another West Virginia legislator, Republican Rep. David McKinley, according to the Wheeling Intelligencer/News-Register
The West Virginians are throwing bipartisan support behind the fly-ash legislation, saying classifying the substance as hazardous would increase the cost of operating coal-fired electrical plants and raise electric bills. The House passed the bill on Oct. 14, with backing from all three West Virginia representatives.
“We’re trying to make it fly," Manchin said. “The EPA is depicting something as a hazard when it was never before believed to be a hazard.”
Legislation favoring the coal industry is generally supported by West Virginia’s legislators to preserve jobs in the Mountain State. Manchin says several industries use fly ash, a by-product of coal-powered electrical plants, and contain it so it doesn’t pollute the water.
Rockefeller likewise called the bill important, because it protects miners’ jobs and public safety.
“It will allow businesses throughout West Virginia to have some certainty about the regulations they need to comply with,” the veteran senator said.
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