New NC Laws On Coal Ash, Drones And Taxes Go Into Effect Today
A series of laws passed by the General Assembly this summer will go into effect today, affecting areas of construction, pollution and privacy. The variety in legislation reflects the broad reach of the state House and Senate this year.
Perhaps the most visible one addresses millions of tons of ashes left from burning coal for decades to generate electricity. It is now officially illegal to build or expand any coal ash ponds, although Duke Energy, which owns 33 coal ash ponds across the state, was already phasing out the use of ponds. The company is also required to manage pollution at the ponds within 15 years.
Gov. Pat McCrory has already named three of the nine members of the commission: Michael Jacobs, who teaches corporate governance and business and government at UNC-Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School, will be chairman; and Herbert Eckerlin, a professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering at N.C. State University, and Larry Cobb, a Durham lawyer and former Republican legislator who served in the state Utilities Commission, will be members.
The issue of unmanned aircraft, or drones, as they’re usually called, made its way to the North Carolina legislature this summer. Now, under a new law, a drone can’t be used for secret surveillance or to take pictures for mass circulation without the subjects’ permission. There are some exceptions for the police and for media organizations.
Construction and Taxes
One law increases enforcement on companies that excavate in areas where underground pipes or structures may be damaged. Another makes biodiesel subject to the motor fuels excise tax, and revokes a sales tax exemption on newspaper stands. And another makes it illegal to use drones for secret surveillance or to take photos for mass distribution.