Environment
11:00 am
Wed August 20, 2014

NC Lawmakers Compromise On Plan For Duke Energy's Coal Ash Ponds

Top Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly say they’ve agreed on a plan to manage Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. The plan for Duke Energy's 33 ponds has been roughly six months in the making, but just weeks ago negotiations broke down between the senators and representatives who were writing it. 

North Carolina lawmakers have been under pressure to pass legislation in response a February spill of more than 39,000 tons of coal ash from a Duke plant onto the Dan River.
North Carolina lawmakers have been under pressure to pass legislation in response a February spill of more than 39,000 tons of coal ash from a Duke plant onto the Dan River.
Credit Riverkeeper Foundation

One of the lead writers, Rep. Chuck Mcgrady (R-Hendersonville), says a critical portion of the new plan deals with ponds near the water table. McGrady says Duke will be forced to remove ash from any pond sitting in areas where the ground is saturated with water, or it’ll have to put in safeguards to make sure chemicals don’t seep into it.

If the House and Senate end their session this week, this could be the last bill they send to the governor.Republican leaders say this is the most aggressive mitigation plan in the country, but some Democrats say it doesn’t protect the environment enough and doesn’t protect the consumers from paying the costs of managing the ashes.