Last Minute Coal Ash Bill Full Of Handouts For Duke Energy
NC Policy Watch is reporting that a compromise coal ash bill may be passed by the General Assembly as early as today, after it appeared the issue was dead until November. Public pressure has forced the politicians to do something, but unfortunately their bill is full of handouts to Duke Energy and does little to deal with the 100 million tons of coal ash currently polluting groundwater in 33 unlined pits across North Carolina. From their article,
The coal ash bill issued by a conference committee of the N.C. General Assembly today fails to require cleanup of 10 coal ash sites across North Carolina by allowing Duke Energy to leave its polluting coal ash in unlined, leaking pits at 10 of 14 sites. The bill leaves at risk people in nearby and downstream communities throughout North Carolina and other states. The bill seeks to weaken existing law and protect Duke Energy from taking responsibility for its coal ash waste.
Allowing coal ash to be left in unlined, leaking pits across North Carolina with documented groundwater contamination at each site is not a cleanup plan nor does it protect the people of North Carolina. Many sites across the country where coal ash has been covered up or “capped” in place continue to experience high levels of toxic pollution. Covering up coal ash and calling sites “closed” does not stop or clean up pollution.
All communities deserve to have water supplies protected from the toxic threat of coal ash by moving coal ash to dry, lined storage away from our waterways.
All of Duke Energy’s coal ash disposal sites pollute groundwater, and existing law in North Carolina requires “immediate action to eliminate the source of contamination” at these sites. Politicians inserted language into Senate Bill 729 that guts existing law and undermines citizens groups’ ongoing efforts to ensure real cleanup of these polluting sites under existing law.
This bill also doesn't force Duke Energy's shareholders to pay for the full cost of the clean up, despite billions in profits last year. North Carolina ratepayers shouldn't shoulder the burden for Duke Energy's mistakes.