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Coal ash law signed by Governor McCrory provides water connections, protects environment

Friday, July 15, 2016 - 12:00am

The state environmental department commends Governor Pat McCrory for signing a law that sets enforceable deadlines for Duke Energy to provide alternate water supplies to well owners near coal ash ponds. The law also requires the company to repair dams around the ponds and process coal ash for reuse in concrete manufacturing.  

“The new coal ash law establishes a firm timetable for providing permanent water connections and repairing dams at coal ash ponds,” said Secretary Donald R. van der Vaart. “It also protects customers by allowing for less expensive methods of closing coal ash ponds that won’t be passed on in the form of higher electricity prices.”

Under the new law, some coal ash ponds can be safely drained, covered with a waterproof liner, and monitored for at least 30 years to make sure they don’t affect groundwater. Duke Energy must also prove to the state environmental department that it has installed permanent alternate water supplies and fully completed dam repairs.

Under Governor McCrory, North Carolina became the first state in the country to order that all coal ash ponds be closed. The administration issued record fines for environmental violations including $7 million for the Dan River spill, and more than four million tons of coal ash have been moved from five Duke Energy facilities to safe storage.

Videotaped statements from Donald R. van der Vaart, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, and Tom Reeder, Assistant Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, can be found here.

You may view the full press release here.