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Coal ash cleanup bill delayed in NC Senate, possible vote Tuesday

The state Senate voted 47-0 today to not concur with the version of SB71 that passed the House yesterday. The bill would establish a new coal ash management commission, replacing the commission that was disbanded following a lawsuit from Gov. McCrory.

The bill now goes to conference committee with a likely vote on Tuesday. WRAL has more on the details of the last minute changes here.

Environmental groups express concerns over the bill, which they say fails to hold Duke Energy accountable in exposing North Carolina residents to coal ash.

The North Carolina League of Conservation says:

By passing this bill, DEQ’s classifications will not be final, which will give Duke Energy the opportunity to avoid accountability for the harm it is inflicting on North Carolina residents through exposure to coal ash.

S71 further delays the time in which Duke Energy needs to take action to clean up coal ash ponds. This further jeopardizes North Carolinians’ health and water quality.

While the bill does require that Duke Energy provide clean water lines to residents whose water supply has been affected by coal ash, it does not specify whether this cost will be passed on to ratepayers. Additionally, Duke Energy has publicly announced that this is a measure the company had already planned to take, making the inclusion of this language in the bill most likely posturing by the legislature.

S71 is a clear attempt by Duke Energy and its friends in the legislature to skirt responsibility for the toxic coal ash ponds in North Carolina. It is time to stop delaying the actions needed to protect the health and well-being of North Carolina residents. Do not let Duke Energy continue to avoid taking responsibility for its actions.

[Read more here]

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