Hoeven-Manchin States-First Coal Ash Recycling Legislation Passes as Part of New Water Bill

Senator Also Working to Advance Clean Coal Projects Like the Allam Cycle, Project Tundra

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today held a roundtable to outline coal ash recycling legislation he and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) worked to pass as part of the new water development bill that Congress passed earlier this month. The legislation passed with bipartisan support and the backing of coal producing states because it enforces standards through state-led permit programs, rather than through costly and time-consuming lawsuits.

“Our legislation will make it easier for coal ash to be recycled into materials that have a wide range of safe and cost-effective applications, including in the construction of buildings, roads, bridges and other necessary infrastructure,” Hoeven said. “Both the North Dakota Heritage Center on the Capitol grounds in Bismarck and the Bismarck State College Energy Center of Excellence are constructed of recycled coal ash.

Hoeven Coal Ash Recycling Legislation

The coal ash recycling legislation, which is included in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. is based on Hoeven’s Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2016, a bill he introduced earlier this year with Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). After a March hearing on the Hoeven-Manchin bill before the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, the senator worked with EPW Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) to add the bipartisan amendment to the water development and infrastructure legislation. The measure prevents costly litigation and, for the first time, creates an enforceable state permit program for the disposal of coal ash.

The senator is also working to promote innovative clean coal technologies like the Allam Cycle and the Tundra Project, which will help to secure the future of both existing and new coal-fired electrical generation plants.

The Allam Cycle

The Allam Cycle is a new pilot and demonstration project being developed by Basin Electric and Allete Inc. to reduce CO2 emissions and increase efficiency in new coal-fired and natural gas power plants. The innovative technology captures CO2, a byproduct of burning coal, and uses it as a type of fuel itself. Rather than having to use energy to capture CO2, the Allam Cycle collects it, pressurizes it into a liquid and uses it to turn a turbine to generate electricity. That means it uses less energy and low emissions. When the power plant is done with the CO2, it can either be sequestered or sold off for industrial uses like enhanced oil recovery.

Project Tundra

Project Tundra aims to develop next-generation, advanced, full-plant scrubbing technologies to retrofit existing plants to capture CO2, which can then be sequestered or used in enhanced oil recovery, making the facilities viable into the future. The senator helped to formalize a partnership between Minnkota Power Cooperative, Allete Clean Energy, BNI Energy and the University of North Dakota’s (UND) Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) for Project Tundra.

Last summer, the senator arranged a meeting between North Dakota energy industry leaders and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to encourage the Energy Department to partner with the state’s energy industry to develop and implement commercially-viable clean coal technologies. Hoeven and the energy leaders made the case for the Energy Department to support Project Tundra as well as the Allam Cycle pilot project to develop the new technologies.

For a meeting handout, click here.