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A settlement between environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could for the first time impose regulations on hundreds of coal ash sites nationwide that are not covered by 2015 federal coal ash rules.
The development stems from a 2022 lawsuit naming sites in Indiana and Illinois and accusing the EPA of failing to regularly review its rules for so-called “legacy” or “historic” coal ash sites — landfills and dumps that were inactive before federal coal ash rules took effect in 2015. The EPA is now enforcing those 2015 rules but still ignoring older sites not covered by the rules.
A Feb. 3 consent decree has made environmentalists hopeful the legacy “loophole” may soon close, forcing utilities to reckon with countless tons of coal ash deposited at hundreds of sites before the 2015 rules took effect.