Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is working to prevent coal ash from polluting communities across the state. On Tuesday, he signed the Coal Ash Pollution Act to combat the issue.
Senate Bill 9 prohibits discharge into the environment, requires IEPA approval for permitting and closures of coal combustion residual surface impoundments such as landfills and piles, guarantees financial assurances from CCR owners or operators for future closure or maintenance costs, and directs the IEPA to propose new rules to the Pollution Control Board around the regulation of coal ash in the state, which it will then implement within 12 months.
The new coal ash regulations will be developed by IEPA within eight months and must satisfy the following requirements:
- Must be at least as protective and comprehensive as the federal regulations or amendment promulgated by the U.S. EPA
- Specify the minimum contents of permit applications.
- Specify which types of permits include requirements for closure, post-closure, remediation, and other requirements.
- Specify when permit applications must be submitted.
- Specify standards for review and approval by IEPA for permit applications.
- Specify meaningful public participation procedures and other methods and procedures.
- Prescribe the type and amount of the performance bonds or other securities required.
- Specify a procedure to identify areas of environmental justice concern.
- Specify a method to prioritize CCR surface impoundments required to close if not specified by the U.S. EPA.
- Define when complete removal is achieved.
- Describe the process for identifying an alternative source of contamination when the owner/operator believes it is not from the impoundment.
The bill takes effect immediately.