Under the Dome

July 1, 2014

NC House committee will consider changes to Senate's coal ash plan

The North Carolina House doesn't plan on rubber-stamping the NC Senate's coal ash plan. On Wednesday, the House Environmental Committee will take up a list of 17 proposed changes to the Senate plan.

The House doesn't plan on rubber-stamping the Senate's coal ash plan. On Wednesday, the House Environmental Committee will take up a list of 17 proposed changes to the Senate plan.

The proposal, distributed Tuesday evening to committee members, includes both tweaks and significant changes. Some of the highlights:

• Extend the date for a moratorium on utility rate increases related to coal ash from Jan. 15, 2015 to March 1, 2017.
• Modifies the proposed nine-member Coal Ash Management Commission members' expertise requirements, and moves the commission to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, although independent of that agency.
• Changes the chair of the commission to an appointment by the governor rather than election among members.
• Requires coal ash basin owners to provide alternate drinking water within 24 hours when DENR determines groundwater quality standards have been exceeded.
• Give the secretary of DENR the authority to extend deadlines for closing any of the ponds, if the utility can show it can't meet the deadline, and that it would create serious hardship without benefiting the public sufficiently.

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