For Immediate Release:
July 3, 2014
NC Sierra Club Responds to the North Carolina House’s Passage of the Coal Ash Bill
RALEIGH - This morning, the North Carolina House passed S 729, Coal Ash Management Act of 2014. While some helpful amendments were added, the NC House failed to significantly improve the bill from the Senate version.
One notable difference between the House bill and the version that the Senate passed is a new section that appears to undermine ongoing citizen litigation to address groundwater contamination from coal ash ponds in multiple locations in North Carolina.
The house bill rolls back current law, recently clarified in state Superior court, that gives DENR both the authority and the responsibility to require Duke Energy to immediately eliminate the source of groundwater pollution stemming from its unlined coal ash pits.
The House bill also failed to remedy the Senate bill's lack of clear standards to ensure that closure methods are protective of groundwater near coal ash sites. All 14 coal ash sites in the state are leaking chemicals into the groundwater. Without clear guidelines, this bill could allow coal ash at 10 of these sites to stay in place, continuing to pollute our groundwater, lakes, and rivers.
After the bill’s passage, Dustin Chicurel-Bayard, communications director for the North Carolina Sierra Club, issued the following statement:
“After weeks of expectation and speculation, the House missed the opportunity to build on the Senate's good start and to address key shortcomings in the legislation. Under Speaker Tillis’ leadership, the House failed to make the final set of changes needed to give North Carolinians the protection they deserve from Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash.”
“There are no clear requirements in this legislation to ensure it does what it’s intended to do: remove the threat of coal ash to all our waters, and all our communities.”
“Not only does the bill fail to add protections missing from the Senate version of the bill, but it appears to undermine a recent court ruling stemming from a citizen suit that would require Duke Energy to immediately eliminate the source of its groundwater contamination.”
“North Carolinians’ right to clean water has been under threat by coal ash for decades. As lawmakers try to settle their differences on this bill in conference committee, communities are counting on them to protect their families and water.”
Thu, Jul 03