Ask your state Representative to vote NO on House Bill 630. Look them up by county here.
House Bill 630, the compromise the NC Senate struck with Governor McCrory’s office on coal ash, is a betrayal of the thousands of residents near Duke Energy’s coal fired power plants who called for full, swift cleanup of leaking coal ash dumps during fourteen public hearings in March and through written comments to the Dept. of Environmental Quality!This bill protects Duke Energy’s interests and lets the company off the hook for having to excavate coal ash at its NC sites and move it to dry storage, as long as they make small repairs and provide alternative water to those nearby whose well water is contaminated. Clean water, while urgent for families, is not a substitute for eliminating the risk of leaky, unlined coal ash impoundments – neighbors are calling for both!
Don’t let Duke Energy get off the hook for a real solution, one where coal ash is stored above ground and completely isolated from ground and surface water, on Duke’s property, retrievable so ash can be accessible for re-use when safe technologies are available.
More information: what does the bill do?
- Requires DEQ to classify some impoundments as low risk, allowing them to be capped in place, and eliminating the previous criteria for classification, including: public health, environment and natural resources, groundwater contamination, surface water contamination, and the amount and characteristics of coal ash in the specific pit. This negates the comments of the thousands of people who demanded that their communities not be ranked low priority. The requirement that DEQ classify ponds as low risk if public water supply hookups are provided and dam repairs are made ties DEQ’s hands with respect to considering risks to the environment and natural resources.
- Gives Duke until Oct. 15, 2018 to provide drinking water (via water line or filtration device) to everyone with ½ mile of a coal ash pond except those across large bodies of water and provide water to those outside the ½ mile radius if modeling shows they may be impacted by contaminated groundwater. Even this does not guarantee that all impacted well users will be provided water – there is evidence that groundwater contamination can sometimes move under river beds, and independent reviews have shown that groundwater modeling by Duke’s contractors have serious flaws, and have failed to find links between coal ash sites and well water contamination.
- Fails to require concrete recycling at any new sites. Concrete recycling is an important cleanup option because it doesn’t require new landfills. Instead, this bill would allow Duke to simply recycle ash it is required to clean up anyway.
- Pushes DEQ’s final classification until November 15 2018–giving DEQ and Gov McCrory exactly what they asked for: more delay, no new cleanups.
- Gives DEQ expanded authority to grant variances and extensions to the deadlines above, creating further delay and no accountability for Duke Energy.