On August 21, 2018 the D.C. Circuit court struck down parts of the USEPA Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule for not being sufficiently protective of the environment. The decision in Utility Solid Waste Activities Group (USWAG) et al. v. EPA, No. 15-1219 will have a major impact on both active and inactive coal ash impoundments used by coal-fired power plants. The Court’s opinion will likely require closure or retrofitting of all unlined and clay-lined impoundments.
The Court struck down several of the provisions relating to coal ash impoundments, ruling that those provisions were not sufficiently protective of the environment or were inconsistent with the record, and remanded the issues back to EPA for corrections to the rule.
The decision in effect requires EPA to propose amendments to the Rule. Once EPA issues a proposal for a new rule there will be an opportunity for public comments on the proposed rule before the new rule is finalized.