Winter 2012   —   Issue # 2012-01

Resource Metrics

EPA’s Own Report:
One Ton of Recycled Fly Ash in Concrete Yields:

$129 in Energy Savings

99 gallons in Water Savings

0.8 tons in Avoided CO2

82 gallons of Gasoline Saved

Source: EPA, June 2008 Report to Congress (EPA530-R-08-007).

 

Poll Watch

Republicans Hold Lead in Generic Congressional Ballot

Among likely voters:

42% support Republicans

39% support Democrats

19% are undecided

Source: Rasmussen Reports
January 23, 2012.

 

 

 

Focus on:
Coal Ash Recycling

EPA Threatens the Environment by Threatening Coal Ash Recycling

In his State of the Union Address, the president outlined his re-election strategy – punish one group of Americans in hopes of currying political favor with others. And the sad fact is, America’s resource industry, one group doing perhaps the most to create jobs and real wealth for this country, remains his favorite target.

Even more regrettable, when Obama’s EPA attacks the mining-coal-electric industry with a broad brush – even the greenest of our industry – the recyclers – gets tarred.

Coal ash recycling is a practice that creates enormous environmental benefits – preventing landfill use, conserving energy and natural resources, and even reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10 million tons per year by reducing the need to manufacture portland cement. But this undeniably environmentally positive industry is already being undermined by environmental activists and an EPA dedicated to harming coal by any means possible.

About Coal Ash Recycling

animation

Over the past several decades, a variety of environmentally safe uses for coal ash have been developed in construction, building materials and even agriculture. Every day you come into contact with roads, bridges, and buildings made with coal ash as an ingredient.

Coal ash is used for far more than its environmental benefits. For instance, concrete made with coal ash is much stronger and more durable that concrete made with cement alone. In fact, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association estimates that the cost to the nation’s infrastructure would be more than $100 billion over 20 years if coal ash were not available.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – in two reports to Congress and two formal Regulatory Determinations issued over two decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations – concluded that coal ash does not warrant regulation as a “hazardous waste.” EPA’s “Final Regulatory Determination” under the Clinton Administration in 2000 spurred a huge increase in the practice of recycling. With regulatory certainty of a “non-hazardous” determination, recycling rates soared from 29 percent in 2000 to 44 percent in 2008.

In 2009, however, the Obama Administration’s EPA re-opened the coal ash issue and developed proposed regulations that would treat coal ash as “hazardous waste” when disposed. EPA would continue to exempt ash from regulation when it is recycled, but who wants to use a material in their homes that is considered “hazardous” on the property of the person who made it?

The results have been disastrous. Recycling rates have begun to fall – dipping to 41 percent in 2010 – and the EPA rulemaking process continues unresolved while one of America’s greatest environmental success stories dies on the vine.

Visit Citizens for Recycling First to learn more and show support for federal policies that favor recycling.

Washington Watch

NMA Says Arizona Land Withdrawal
Not Supported by Science, Hurts Economy

In response to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar withdrawing federal land in northern Arizona from hardrock mining for 20 years, National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn said, “The secretary’s decision to rule out mining on more than one million acres of federal land deprives the United States of energy and minerals critically important to its economy and does so without compelling scientific evidence that is necessary for such a far-reaching measure.

A complete copy of the press release is available at: NMA press release.

Coal Ash Recycling Legislation Will
Preserve Jobs, Reduce Energy Costs, Empower States

Senate Bill 1751 (S. 1751) is one of the greenest pieces of energy legislation introduced in this Congress according to sources in Washington. Senators John Hoeven and Kent Conrad are sponsors of the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2011, legislation that will ensure the safe and effective disposal of coal combustion residuals, a byproduct of coal-fired electricity generation that is recycled as a valuable building material.

Under this legislation, states could set up their own permitting program for the management and disposal of coal ash that is based on existing EPA regulations to protect human health and the environment. States will know where they stand under this bill, since the benchmarks for what constitutes a successful state program will be set in statute.

The Hoeven-Conrad legislation is prompted by the EPA’s proposal to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste. Coal ash is a byproduct that has been safely used for buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructure for years under state regulations. The agency’s new rule would add additional costs to recycling companies and power plants, thereby increasing the cost of electricity to consumers.

A complete copy of the press release is available at: Sen. Hoeven press release.

American Bar Association Newsletter Article
Cites Unintended Consequences of EPA Actions

In the January 2012 Waste and Resources Recovery Committee Newsletter of the American Bar Association, authors Steven Moon and John Ward summarize the anti-environmental dilemma the EPA has created for recyclers. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its Final Regulatory Determination that concluded coal ash did not warrant regulation as a hazardous waste. That sent a clear signal to producers, marketers and users of coal ash who began to invest more in the infrastructure necessary to support recycling.

In 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency accelerated this effort by creating the Coal Combustion Products Partnership (C2P2), to actively promote recycling as a preferred alternative to disposal. However, recently and unfortunately, according to the article, the EPA has stepped back from its visible support of recycling, and created far reaching uncertainty. Due to this, investments in the infrastructure necessary to support recycling have stalled and recycling rates have already begun to drop.

A complete copy of the story is available at: Waste and Resources Recovery Committee Newsletter.

Newsworthy

The Bismark Tribune: “The U.S. Senate Should Pass
The Coal Residual Reuse and Management Act”

The Coal Residual Reuse and Management Act passed the U.S. House on a 267-144 vote. Now it is the U.S. Senate’s turn, opined a editorial in The Bismark Tribune. The Bismark Tribune continued, “Virtually every bit of concrete you have seen in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota has Coal Creek fly ash in it...to give it a blanket “hazardous” label does a disservice to those using fly ash that contains no toxic elements or only trace amounts of them. Anti-coal forces are pushing the EPA to regulate fly ash, as they have emission standards, in an effort to make coal-fired electricity more expensive and promote non-carbon based, alternative sources of energy. It’s as simple as that.

A complete copy of the story is available at: The Bismark Tribune.

Waste Business Journal:
Industry Seeks Role in Defining Risk

According to the Waste Business Journal, The American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), representing companies that reuse ash in products such as cement, is asking the U.S. EPA to heed its suggestions for EPA’s pending risk study on ash reuse that will inform the agency’s long-stalled Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) final rule on coal waste disposal. Among other things, the industry group is urging EPA to assess the risks of ash use in products as well as any alternative ingredients that may replace the ash should manufacturers choose to do so. ACCA met with EPA waste chief Mathy Stanislaus on January 3, 2012 to discuss its the pending risk study.

A complete copy of the story is available at: Waste Business Journal.

Smart Science

MIT Sponsors Symposium on Environmental Impacts of Concrete

Nearly 500 representatives from industry, government and academia convened at MIT in August for a day-long symposium on the environmental impacts of concrete – a topic of no small importance, given that concrete is the most widely used man-made material on earth and that its use contributes about 5% of global CO2 emissions. Coal ash utilization is a key strategy in improving the sustainability of concrete.

Sponsored by MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub – a collaborative research center involving the School of Architecture + Planning and the School of Engineering – the meeting featured the release of two important new reports on the carbon emissions of concrete buildings and pavements over the course of their life cycles, and included a new set of analyses to help designers and builders determine which of their construction options involve the lowest environmental costs.

A complete copy of the story is available at: AggregateResearch.com.

Recycling for Better Roads and
Save $104.6 Billion over 20 Years

The cost to build roads, runways and bridges would increase by an estimated $104.6 billion throughout the next 20 years if coal fly ash is no longer available as a transportation construction building material, according to a new study by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF).

Alison Premo Black, ARTBA senior economist and the report’s author, says, “the excess $5.23 billion annual direct cost includes a $2.5 billion increase in the price of materials and an additional $2.73 billion in pavement and bridge repair work due to the shorter pavement and service life of other portland cement blends. To put the $5.23 billion figure in perspective, it is almost $2 billion per year more than the federal government currently invests in the Airport Improvement Program and about 13 percent of the federal government’s annual total annual aid to the states for highway and bridge work.”

A complete copy of the story is available at: BetterRoads.com.

From the Heartland

Louisville – Charah HQ Ranks in Top 10 for
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

The new corporate headquarters of Charah, Inc., a leading ash management provider for the coal-fired electric utility industry, was ranked as the 9th largest LEED-certified buildings in Greater Louisville by Business First of Louisville. Charah was recognized in the January 6, 2012 print edition of Business First.

Located in Blankenbaker Station in eastern Jefferson County at 12601 Plantside Drive, the innovative commercial office space has 19,903 square feet and was completed in June 2010. The facility’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification level is LEED NC 2.2 and certification was issued on November 2, 2011.

A complete copy of the story is available at: Charah.com.

Chattanooga – “EPA is Killing Us in America,
So We’ve Changed Operations to Sell Abroad”

According to Kevin Stone, President of Progressive Fillers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, “The EPA’s restrictions squeezed us so much in the U.S., that to survive, even after laying-off half our employees, we had to re-focus our product mix, employment, and move production overseas. As an American, it kills me to do this. But the EPA forced my hand and went first by scaring-off customers in our domestic markets. We’ve been forced to back-peddle, and cut, and re-trench for years. Thanks Mr. President, for the State of the Union you created for us in Chattanooga.”.

A complete copy of the story is available at: Chattanooga Times Free Press.