by Becki Gray
Former Senior Vice President, John Locke Foundation
The General Assembly has been unable to reach an agreement on SB 729, coal ash clean up and management. That does not mean the issue is not being addressed. While part of the solution may lie in re-use and re-cycling, clean up and prevention of further spills is moving forward. On August 1, Governor McCrory issued an executive order instructing the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to access coal ash basins, ensure drinking water safety, make sure laws are being followed, fix what’s broken. Duke has been dealing with coal ash for 6 decades, operating 14 coal fired plants in North Carolina, generating over 102 Million tons of coal ash stored in 33 basins. Today DENR told Duke Power to submit plans for coal ash removal at the top priority sites. And to submit surveys of private drinking water wells, which surface water may be contaminated at all 14 coal plants in NC, groundwater assessment plans, step up inspections of dams and pipes at the sites. DENR will allow wastewater permits to be reopened so illegal leaks can be stopped.
Clean up of coal ash will begin at the sites identified as highest priority for clean up – they are Asheville, Riverbend, Dan River and Sutton plants. This map shows where the coal fired plants with coal ash basins are located in NC.