As one of his first major acts as acting director of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler signed and finalized new standards overseeing coal ash, the leftover waste created by power plants that burn coal. The new rules are a revision of 2015 regulations that were put into place by the Obama administration after two significant industrial coal ash spills.
Signed into rules on Wednesday, the new regulations put more authority back in the hands of industry and states to regulate their own waste. For example, states can tailor disposal requirements to specific sites. They also “provide states and utilities much-needed flexibility in the management of coal ash, while ensuring human health and the environment are protected,” Wheeler said in a statement. “Our actions mark a significant departure from the one-size-fits-all policies of the past and save tens of millions of dollars in regulatory costs.”