NC Lawmakers Reach Compromise On Coal Ash - myfoxcarolinas.com

NC Lawmakers Reach Compromise On Coal Ash

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It's one of the first regulations of its kind in the country – how to handle coal ash.

That's what remains after coal is burned to get electricity.

Just a few hours back, lawmakers reached a compromise in Raleigh.

This allows the state of North Carolina to create a coal ash commission.

That will give Duke Energy 15 years to drain 33 ponds in the state where coal ash is stored.

But the question is will the ponds be cleaned or closed, and who'll foot the bill – Duke or you the customer?

This all started earlier this year when a storm water pipe broke in the Dan River and allowed coal ash to be swept through.

North Carolina has tons of coal ash stored.

In fact, it has one of the highest amounts of hazard ponds in the country.

So if any of them fail, it could have huge environmental impacts and could affect our drinking water.

Charlotte has two coal ash ponds on Mountain Island Lake.

That serves as the city's main water supply and reaches about 80% of the population.

But not everyone's thrilled by Wednesday night's compromise.

The Catawba Riverkeeper says Duke Energy could still access Lake Norman or Lake Wylie to store coal ash.

He says the best option is to move it away from anything that hits the water supply.

“I think the legislation is still inadequate and allows sites to be left in place and it's not a clean up. I don't know how you could leave this in place propped on water that we drink,” said Catawba Riverkeeper, Sam Perkins.

“I think the solution they have adopted makes sense. Duke has until Jan 15 to file for any passing of costs to consumers,” said Charlotte City Councilman Ed Driggs.

Duke Energy says it'll clean up the Dan River spill but expects customers to foot the $10 billion costs to relocate coal ash – which is about $20 extra a month, if approved.

Charlotte city council leaders are also looking to store coal ash at the airport.

They want to swap land with Duke and store it at the end of the runway instead of under it.
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