NC Senate to reject House's coal-ash bill

Posted by Craig Jarvis and Lynn Bonner on July 10, 2014 

The Senate has problems with the House version of a coal-ash regulation bill, which comes as no surprise since the House rewrote significant portions of the Senate’s plan.

Sen. Tom Apodaca, who co-sponsored the Senate bill with President Pro Tem Phil Berger, said he has several concerns with the latest version.

Those concerns are: allowing Duke Energy to take longer to clean up some of its coal ash ponds, the composition of a commission overseeing closure plans, and putting that commission in the state environmental regulatory agency.

The legislature is running out of time, but leaders say coming up with a law that responds to the pollution threat from the coal-fired power plant residue is still a top priority of the short session.

The Senate is expected to vote to reject the House plan when it convenes Monday evening. Most of the House has taken this week off and isn’t expected to return until there is a budget deal to vote on.

Environmental groups say neither bill is strong enough. But the Senate passed its version unanimously last month, while the House passed its last week in a vote that split Democratic members.

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