WASHINGTON, D.C. — A piece of legislation that gives states greater control over the management of coal ash is heading to the U.S. Senate for approval.

The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. David McKinley, overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday with bipartisan support by a vote of 265 to 155. The legislation drew support from 39 Democrats.

“It’s the highest number from the Democrats that we’ve had on this legislation in two and a half years,” said Rep. McKinley.

McKinley believes past opposition to the bill was due to lawmakers not truly understanding what was in the legislation.

“It has such complexities to it that I think maybe it confounds some members as to what is trying to be accomplished here,” he said.

The legislation would protect the recycling of coal ash and give states the authority to set their own standards for the disposal of fly ash with oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) while protecting human health and the environment.

Coal ash is a coal combustion byproduct that poses environmental threats when put in landfills but is also commonly recycled for use in cement, concrete and other products.

The legislation would also require installation of groundwater monitoring at all structures containing coal ash and set deadlines for meeting groundwater protection standards. Companies with impoundments that leak would have up to 10 years to fix the problem. If companies fail to do so, McKinley said the outcome is simple.

“If they are endangering the human health and the environment, they have to close,” he said.

Despite voicing concerns over some aspects of the bill, the White House did not issue a veto threat as it often does with GOP environmental bills.

McKinley said he and fellow bill supporters held numerous meetings and discussions with EPA and other stakeholders getting feedback about the bill. All the feedback was then put into this bill and as a result, McKinley believes it’s a wonderful example of compromise.

“I think we’ve got something that is far reaching and it will have a profound affect and I think because of that has a greater chance of being considered in the Senate than in the past,” he said.

Even with bipartisan support in the House, McKinley said there is still a lot more work to do.

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  • Calvin

    Just a small point to consider for you fact finders and your research. Did you ever consider that he gets 18 times more money from coal than other representatives because his freaking state PRODUCES 18 times more coal than the average representatives state!! Why would a coal company donate money to someone from a state with no coal?!! WV is one of the highest producers hence their representatives and elected officials receive more money! Nice try tho

    • wvrefugee

      There is a difference in taking money and soliciting money from coal. Coal is a dead energy form. McKinley, like most conservatives these days, hope to keep West Virginian's in the dark ages and load their own war chests with money from the backs of it's workers and the state's natural resources! FAIL!

  • jlee

    McKinley is like coal ash waste for WV. Strictly a waste bi-product of the coal operators! But can be used to support the anti-American actions of the republican party....

  • Jt

    This is the ONLY thing Mckinley has accomplished in his time in congress, and it is much to do about nothing. Where does he stand on the real issues of the day?

  • RogerD

    At the risk of sounding cynical, I have to wonder how much of the bipartisan support of McKinley's bill had anything to do with his bipartisan support of the NSA's ability to snoop on the phone calls and emails of West Virginians. Deal making is the way business is conducted in Washington DC these days.

    • Mac

      Hey RogerD - - If you're worried about the NSA's ability to snoop on your phone calls and emails, - just be careful what you say or write. No harm, No foul. You're just paranoid! The Oblah-blah administration says that they won't listen or read your communications, just store them for future reference. But if you belong to "al-qaeda" - watch out 'cause the G men will pounce on your data and phone calls like "white on rice" - - and the Republicans won't help you 'cause they'll be laughing so hard at you saying: "We told you so!"

      • RogerD

        Mac, Got it! Thanks for your advice. I won't worry about politicians using the IRS to audit or harass me either.

  • Big John

    He meant what he said about affect-Consumers will be paytng for this work-not the republican business owners.

  • proudlyconservative

    The correct noun is "effect." The verb "affect" is incorrect.

  • Ragweed

    Congressman McKinley is a good, common-sense representative who has his constituents at heart, traits that are sorely hard to find in Washington.

    • Hop'sHip

      Just who are you referring to when you say "his constituents"? Maybe MapLight can shed some light on this by reporting:

      "•Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., the bill's chief sponsor, has received $263,928 from the coal mining and electric power utilities industries, the second highest total in the House of Representatives (behind only Speaker of the House, John Boehner, $529,117).
      •McKinley has received 18 times more money from the coal mining and electric power utilities industries than the average for all members of the House of Representatives."

      • Calvin

        Smh of course a coal producing states representative is going to receive more money from a coal company than a representative from a state with no coal!!!
        "MapLight" needs to turn the light on and put out facts not distorted ramblings

      • wvrefugee

        Correct!!! He doesn't represent me!!!! He is representing the guys who got him elected..........BIG COAL!!!! Slime bag!

        • billyed

          Rep. David McKinley doesn't represent me, working middle class. He is brought of by the wealthy and big corporation. Hope his bill lands on the Presidents desk, so Obama can veto it . Just like the constant obstruction that McKinley and his fellow republicans have done.

          • john

            Obstruction to what? Tyranny, Communism, Dictatorship, and the complete disregard of the Constitution? Is that what the checks and balance of the founders are obstructing?