EPA today published in the Federal Register its Final Rule for Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities (commonly known as the CCR Rule). The rule is now official and the clock starts for compliance deadlines and the filing of challenges.

The rule becomes effective on October 14, 2015, six months after publication. Parties wishing to challenge any aspect of the rule have 90 days to initiate their challenge.

As explained in our prior post, the rule is self-implementing, meaning it sets “minimum” federal criteria with which facilities must comply without engaging state or federal agencies. Thus, states are not required to adopt regulations, develop permitting programs, or submit a program to EPA for approval. Should a state develop a program to implement the CCR rule, facilities will be subject to dual requirements and enforcement. The CCR Rule will continue to exist as a distinct set of rules that can be enforced through the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s citizen suit provision.

If your state is considering adopting the new CCR criteria, you should be aware that many of the compliance deadlines under the CCR Rule will likely be triggered before the state is able to adopt new rules. Thus, should your state adopt and implement the federal criteria in a manner that is different than how your facility may have implemented the criteria, you may be required to alter certain management practices. For example, a state may require the installation of additional groundwater wells, the monitoring of additional groundwater parameters, or more stringent closure requirements.

A link to the CCR Rule and key websites are provided below:

·        The Federal Register website.

·        The Regulations.gov website containing the entire rulemaking docket.

·        EPA’s Coal Ash Final Rule website, which EPA, which is periodically updated with resources from EPA.