House bill to ease regulations for waste-coal plants

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February 16, 2017

Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA-12) introduced legislation (H.R.1119) to modify existing regulations applying to coal-refuse-to-energy power plants on February 16. The bill acts to exempt these specific power plants from emission standards required under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

These plants currently burn refuse from abandoned coal mines. Refuse consists of low-grade coal mixed with dirt and rocks and is a by-product of coal production. These refuse piles lead to acid mine drainage, dust, and other types of pollution. These areas are remediated by burning this refuse in coal-waste-to-energy plants. Rep. Rothus argues that under the current EPA emission regulations, these businesses will be forced to shut down and therefore will negatively affect the nation’s economy and environment.

H.R.1119 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Sources:,, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency