On August 27, 2019, NRECA submitted comments in support of the state of Georgia's request to implement and enforce the federal coal combustion residuals (CCR) program through state permits. Oglethorpe Power Corporation worked with the state and others in developing the Georgia program.
NRECA has long supported operating CCR surface impoundments and landfills under permits rather than the self-implementing federal program established in 2015. The 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation (WIIN) Act gave EPA lacing statutory authority to enforce the non-hazardous CCR program (RCRA, except by exception, reserves jurisdiction over non-hazardous waste to the states).
EPA has been slow to revise the federal program to reflect the new authority and risk-based flexibility provided by the WIIN Act. Because of the slow action by EPA, states have similarly been slow to apply for approval of their permit programs to operate in lieu of the federal program. Georgia is the 2nd state to seek such approval (Oklahoma received approval in 2018).
We continue to advocate for risk-based changes to the federal program proposed in 2018 as well as a federal permit scheme in the hopes that, once those two pieces are in place, more states will move to assume the program.