WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration has set the first national standards for waste generated from coal burned for electricity. The regulation treats it more like household garbage rather than a hazardous material.
Environmentalists had pushed for the hazardous classification, citing the hundreds of cases nationwide where coal ash waste had tainted waters. The coal industry wanted the less stringent classification.
The rule issued Friday ends a six-year effort that began after a massive spill at a power plant in Tennessee.
The EPA said that the regulation addresses the risks posed by coal ash sites and that the record did not support a hazardous classification.
The rule does not require all sites failing to meet the standards to close. Sites at shuttered power plants also are not covered.
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