In Washington, D.C., Congressional members are drawing up a new federal transportation reauthorization bill before the current extension expires on June 30. Great River Energy strongly encourages them — and particularly our own Sen. Amy Klobuchar — to ensure the longevity of our nation’s infrastructure and health of our environment by expanding the use of recycled fly ash, a coal byproduct that provides environmental benefits.
High-quality fly ash already can be found in familiar projects and landmarks across the country, including in our backyard. For example, the concrete mixture used to build our LEED-Platinum certified headquarters in Maple Grove includes fly ash, and it was an important factor in achieving this status. Additionally, 12,000 tons of fly ash was used for Crosstown Highway 62 improvements — one of the largest road construction projects in our state’s history. Fly ash reduces overall energy and natural resources consumption because its durability requires fewer repairs. In 2011, more than 400,000 tons of fly ash from Great River Energy coal-powered plants was distributed to construction projects in the region. Because we have identified practical and beneficial uses for fly ash, less is routed to and stored in our landfills.
Industry leaders like us are optimistic that the potential for fly ash will grow, but first, members of Congress need to pass a federal transportation bill that favors our communities and the environment. As we look to rebuild our critical transportation infrastructure here and nationwide, fly ash should be a key component of this planning. — David Saggau, president and CEO, Great River Energy