On Tuesday May 4, 2010, EPA started the process of federal regulation over the disposal and storage of coal combustion residuals, commonly referred to as coal ash. Coal ash has been largely exempt from federal regulation, leaving oversight to individual states. The December 2008 breach of a coal ash storage facility and the subsequent massive spill in Kingston, Tennessee brought coal ash storage and disposal national attention. On one side, many people and environmental groups are calling for action from the federal government. Conversely, many people are worried about additional oversight and duplicative regulatory controls in an area where state law exists. Many of the arguments against federal regulation concern the continued ability to recycle coal ash waste. Coal ash is used in concrete, cement, roadways, and other materials. Both sides of the debate argue in the context of the possible re-classification of coal ash as a hazardous waste.
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