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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to allow utilities to continue dumping coal ash into ponds that are scheduled for closure, and allow some to remain unlined.
The proposed changes, filed Wednesday, would exempt some facilities from lining their basins with plastic if they met certain protective standards, despite a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in August 2018 that the Obama administration’s rules were not strict enough on liners. EPA made the decision based on industry feedback, according to its proposal, despite concerns from environmental advocates.
Under the proposal, utilities could also potentially lengthen the closure timeline for a coal ash pond. The proposal is expected to save industry between $41 million and $138 million per year, according to EPA.