In the eleventh hour during negotiations on the transportation bill on June 27, language requiring approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and barring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation of coal ash waste was dropped.
The Keystone XL rider would have mandated approval of this unnecessary and dangerous tar sands pipeline that would threaten the nation’s largest aquifer that supplies one-third of the U.S. irrigated farmland and drinking water for millions of Americans. Had the provision remained in the House Republican backed bill, it would have required the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the pipeline within 30 days from receiving an application from TransCanada Corp.
The coal ash rider would have put communities at risk from the toxic solid waste leftover after coal is burned. Currently there are no federal standards for disposing of coal ash. On June 27, the EPA released information revealing the existence of hundreds of previously unknown coal ash dumps nationwide.