House backs bill to give states authority to manage coal ash

WASHINGTON – The House has approved a bill granting states authority to regulate waste generated from coal burned for electricity

The 258-166 vote defies a White House veto threat and would largely bypass a federal rule issued last year by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The rule set the first national standards for so-called coal ash, treating it more like household garbage than a hazardous material.

Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia said the EPA rule leaves open the possibility that coal ash could be designated as hazardous, creating uncertainty for industry.

The White House said the House bill could jeopardize public health and the environment. It cited a 2008 coal ash spill in Tennessee and one last year in North Carolina as “stark reminders” of the risks posed by coal ash.