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.