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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.

NC General Assembly Stories We’re Following: Week Of Monday, June 30

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers say they want to break the impasse on a state budget this week. But those aren’t the only bills on their docket.

Leaders in the Senate and the House have been talking about Common Core and Coal Ash since they started meeting in May.

The Senate wants to consider keeping parts of Common Core, the national academic standards for public school students. The House wants to completely replace them.

With Coal Ash, the Senate wants to Duke Energy to deal with its 33 coal ash ponds within 15 years, because they are a potential threat to water contamination. The House is amiable to this proposal abut hasn’t released its own plan.

And as complicated as these issues are, there’s one that’s a bigger priority: The $21 billion state budget.

There’s a lot they’ll need to agree on. Leaders from both the House and Senate say it’s important to raise pay for public school teachers and figure out how to pay for Medcaid insurance. But their perspective on each of these differs possibly by tens of millions of dollars.

Until they figure that out, teachers and state employees won’t get a raise. But just how long it will take for Senate and House leaders to find a compromise is still unclear.

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