UPDATED: This post has been updated to add comment from Gov. Pat McCrory’s spokesman.
A national environmental advocacy organization is keeping up the pressure on North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory over coal ash pollution.
The Natural Resources Defense Council launched a new TV ad campaign on Friday claiming the governor has worked to delay cleanup of Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. The criticism is based on McCrory signing a bill that environmentalists don’t think is forceful or urgent enough to eliminate the threat of pollution to rivers and groundwater supplies.
Josh Ellis, the governor’s communications director, issued a statement after seeing the ad.
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“This misleading attack is yet another example of the NRDC’s commitment to promoting partisan rhetoric instead of using people’s donations to help clean the environment,” Ellis wrote in an email. “Under Gov. McCrory’s leadership, this administration remains focused on cleaning up coal ash ponds as well as pursuing job creation through clean and environmentally responsible exploration of our state’s energy resources.”
There are now 32 basins at Duke Energy plants across the state that store coal ash. (Duke recently announced that one of the basins at the Buck Steam Station is no longer considered a separate pond.)
The utility will be submitting pond closure and cleanup plans to a new state coal ash commission for approval. The law, passed by the legislature this summer, was in response to the February spill of 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River at Eden.
The NRDC ad says the new regulatory law is too weak. This is the third coal ash TV ad by the group, which also slammed the governor, and will run heavily in the Triangle and Triad, according to a spokesman, who declined to say how much was being spent, other than a “substantial” amount.
Here’s a link to the ad: https://shinecreative.app.box.com/s/r386zrq334dnsa7j2bqk