NC House passes new coal ash cleanup bill

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina House lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that lays out who will oversee the cleanup of coal ash across the state.

The bill, Senate Bill 71, would create a new coal ash management commission.

The previous commission was disbanded after the Gov. Pat McCrory filed a lawsuit saying the General Assembly had too much control.

The governor would appoint majority of the members of the new commission.

That said, McCrory’s attorneys argued the commission undermines The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and said the governor will veto the bill.

If passed, The bill would also require Duke energy to provide an alternative water supply for people living near ash ponds.

But some environmental groups worry it could slow down clean up and prevent Duke from having to excavate all ponds.

The bill heads back to the senate for a final vote there.

Following the bill passing the House, McCrory issued a statement reiterating his intention to veto the legislation.

“It’s disappointing to see legislation of this magnitude drafted behind closed doors,” said McCrory. “This bill is a blatant attempt to bypass state regulators and seek more favorable treatment from an unaccountable and unneeded bureaucracy that further delays the cleanup process.”

Duke Energy also issued a statement Wednesday.

The Utility said it supports SB71 as it “strengthens North Carolina’s Coal Ash Management Act by providing broad safeguards that protect people, pocketbooks and the environment, as legislators envisioned when they first passed the law.”

Duke Energy it will review amendments to the bill and monitor its status.

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