N.C. Senate ensures residents have access to clean water, compromises to manage coal ash ponds

Posted at 10:24 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-29 06:25:40-04

RALEIGH, N.C. – After extensive collaboration, the North Carolina Senate passed a compromise plan Tuesday to manage cleanup of the state’s coal ash ponds.

In addition to cleanup efforts, the Senate is ensuring residents that they will have permanent access to clean water.

According to the plan, Duke Energy will be required to provide a permanent source of safe drinking water by fall 2018 to every resident within a half mile radius of a coal ash pond and any other area that may be affected.

Duke Energy will also have to ensure that repairs of dams are completed promptly, to build recycling centers at three coal ash sites to recycle the waste, and to excavate three additional sites that have been the subject of lawsuits.

Finally, the plan also gives authority to determine how the remaining seven coal ash sites are closed to the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality instead of the Coal Ash Management Commission.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) said, “Two years ago, legislative Republicans passed the strictest regulations on coal ash in the United States and became the first state to force the closure of all coal ash ponds, and I am pleased that we’ve now reached a compromise to safely manage cleanup while ensuring North Carolinians have access to clean drinking water.”