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McKinley Deserves Credit on Coal Ash

During nearly eight years in which President Barack Obama used the Environmental Protection Agency as a hammer to pound away at the coal industry and affordable electricity, precious few victories were recorded on behalf of common sense.

But there was one big one, and U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., deserves the lion’s share of credit for it.

One front on which the EPA went after coal and affordable power was the issue of a primary waste product from coal-fired generating stations. Burning coal produces large quantities of coal ash.

A few years ago, EPA officials revealed a plan to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste. That would have been another nail in the coffin Obama was building for both the coal industry and affordable electricity. It would have made the cost of operating a coal-fired power plant go up substantially.

McKinley fought back decisively. He pointed out coal ash is used in a variety of products, ranging from concrete to drywall. It is not a hazardous material as most reasonable people would define the term.

The EPA plan could have cost as many as 316,000 jobs, McKinley warned. It also would have driven electric bills up for tens of millions of Americans.

McKinley won EPA agreement to delay implementation of its new rules. In the meantime, he suggested a reasonable plan of state regulations on coal ash.

That plan is contained in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which has been approved by the House of Representatives. U.S. Senate leaders have signaled agreement with the bill.

What it represents is a backlash in Congress against the Obama administration’s assault on coal and affordable electricity. McKinley deserves high commendation for taking a stand on the issue and crafting a reasonable solution.

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