McCrory says he’s not picking a fight with legislators over coal ash

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On Monday, Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed legislation to revive a special commission tasked with managing the cleanup of coal ash in North Carolina that Duke Energy keeps in pits.

On Tuesday, waiting to see if the General Assembly will try to override his veto, McCrory was treading lightly with legislators.

“I’m not picking any fight with the General Assembly,” McCrory said. “What I’m doing is I’m exposing a bill that is bad for the environment and bad for our constitutional rule of law.”

He said he wants to make sure the public is aware of exactly what’s in the bill.

“They deserve to know exactly what’s in this bill, the ramifications both to our environment and rule of law,” he said.

The House and Senate passed the bill by what appears to be a veto-proof margin.

The composition of the 2014 commission was struck down by the state Supreme Court because legislators controlled a majority of the panel’s appointments. The new commission gives five of the seven seats to the governor.

The bill also addresses how to pipe permanent drinking water to people living near ash pits.

Duke Energy issued a statement regarding McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 71:

“Senate Bill 71 has broad bipartisan support from lawmakers, the environmental and business communities who recognize the opportunity for North Carolina to continue leading on this issue.

“We don’t understand why the Governor would veto a bill that makes North Carolina’s Coal Ash law even stronger. Very importantly, it reconstitutes a Commission that will evaluate the safety and cost of any closure plan on customers.

“The legislation gives our state the flexibility to make better basin closure decisions based on new information and the completion of facility improvement projects. Senate Bill 71 also encourages safe recycling of coal ash, which is non-hazardous, and gives plant neighbors certainty about their water quality. Extensive science and engineering studies demonstrate that basins are not impacting neighbor wells, but extending a permanent water supply to those neighbors benefits all customers because it preserves the wide range of closure options.”

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