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Coal ash is the waste that remains when coal is burned. It is usually collected in a dump, known as a pond. North Carolina has more than 30 such sites in 14 different locations across the state. A pipe running under one of the ponds run by Duke Energy in Eden NC ruptured in February of 2014. The coal ash spilled, largely affecting the Dan River which flows into Virginia. The spill is the third largest of its kind in U.S. history.Many see potential complications because North Carolina's governor, Pat McCrory, worked for Duke Energy for 28 years.

Democrats Want Coal Ash Removed

The cleanup for the 2008 Tennessee coal ash disaster. Image taken March 2012.
Appalachian Voices
via Creative Commons/Flickr

A group of elected Democrats will detail their plans for the clean-up of coal ash Thursday afternoon in Raleigh. Democrat Pricey Harrison of Guilford County has introduced legislation a half dozen times to require the clean up of the potentially toxic coal ash at 14 Duke Energy-owned sites around the state. Her efforts have never advanced through the legislature. Following a coal ash spill near the Virginia border Environmentalists and some politicians are again calling for action.
"We would like that they be moved away from the water and into lined landfills; we'd like to ensure that the cost of the clean-up isn't born by the rate payers or taxpayers but instead by the company itself," said Harrison.

Harrison also wants to see the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) get back some of the funding that was cut. Meanwhile, the CEO of Duke Energy has said the company will provide short-term and long-term plans for clean-up to Governor Pat McCrory by the end of the week. Two republican legislators in the GOP-led General Assembly came out last month and said they would sponsor a bill for clean-up. There are currently no state or federal laws on the books regarding coal ash.

Jeff Tiberii covers politics for WUNC. Before that, he served as the station's Greensboro Bureau Chief.
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