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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.

Environmentalists Push Gov. McCrory To Do More On Coal Ash

Environment NC
Dave DeWitt

Environmental groups are putting pressure on Governor Pat McCrory to do more to clean up coal ash across the state. Environment North Carolina delivered a petition with 40,000 signatures to his office today.

Legislation goes into effect today that directs Duke Energy to clean up coal ash at the four pits deemed to be the highest risk. The law gives Duke 15 years to complete the clean-up.

Environmentalists say that doesn’t go far enough.

“Back in February when thousands of tons of coal ash was pouring into the Dan River, the one hope that people across this state had was that this tragic accident would finally spur North Carolina’s leadership to clean up all 14 coal ash across the state,” said David Rogers with Environment North Carolina. “We urge Governor McCrory and North Carolina’s leaders to step up and create a plan to truly protect North Carolina’s rivers and public health.”

Rogers cites at least ten other coal ash pits that need to be cleaned up.

The legislation also creates a committee that will decide – among other things - who will pay for the cleanup, estimated to be as much as $10 billion.   

Earlier this month, McCrory allowed the bill to become law without his signature.

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