Bringing The World Home To You

© 2021 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Environment
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.

NC Governor Won't Block Coal Ash Bill... But He Won't Sign It Either

On February 2, between 50,000 and 82,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of ash pond water waste were released at Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Station (pictured above) north of Eden, N.C.
Steven Alexander
/
USFWS

Governor Pat McCrory says he'll allow a coal ash management plan to become law without his signature.

The governor says Duke Energy needs to take action as soon as possible. It needs to take care of the coal ash that's in ponds across the state. But that doesn't mean the governor is happy with the plan.

"I am letting the bill become law without signing it because there are major deficiencies that need to be corrected," he said in a recorded statement.

McCrory says there are funding and logistical problems with the legislature's plan. What he emphasizes, though, is that coal ash management will be overseen by a commission appointed mostly by the Senate and the House of Representatives -- not by him.

"It is the legislators' duty to draft and pass laws, but not to execute them, which is the executive branch's authority," he added.

McCrory says he'll consult the Supreme Court on whether or not the bill is constitutional.

In response, Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger argued that the state constitution has given the General Assembly the right to make appointments to independent commissions.

"Keeping the commission separate from the agency that regulates coal ash is not only constitutional, it is a wise policy choice," he said.

Related Stories
More Stories