DURHAM: County considers resolution pushing for coal ash law - WSMV Channel 4

Durham commissioners approve resolution pushing for coal ash legislation

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A collapsed pipe at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station dumped coal ash into the Dan River. A collapsed pipe at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station dumped coal ash into the Dan River.

The Durham County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Monday to request legislation in reaction to the massive coal ash spill at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station. 

Board Chair Michael Page said they plan to write a letter to Governor Pat McCrory and to the NC Department of Environmental Resources requesting they pay "close attention to the environment" and "protect the people of North Carolina."

On Feb. 2, 82,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated water escaped a drainage pipe after it collapsed under a 27-acre waste pond in Eden, N.C. Durham County commissioners are expected to discuss a resolution, which, if passed, will request the General Assembly to take up legislation to address the spill.

Earlier this month, Duke Energy filed an appeal after a judge order the company to take immediate action to clean up its coal ash pits. Duke argued that it needed more time or else the cleanup "will impose significant material costs on Duke Energy and its customers as well as potentially affect its ability to generate power."

The resolution, however, asks for legislation to protect utility customers from any rate hikes that may be related to Duke's clean-up costs, and requiring Duke to pay all clean-up costs.

In citing the Environmental Protection Agency's "high hazard" rating for 29 of Duke Energy's 37 coal ash ponds across state, the resolution also asks the General Assembly to consider legislation prohibiting the placement of additional waste into any existing coal ash ponds.

Commissioners say the resolution aligns with the county's "Environmental Stewardship" goal, which calls for action to "protect our environment through planned growth, conservation, preservation, enhancement and restoration of our natural and built resources."

One of the objectives of the county's "Environmental Stewardship" goal is to "Change behaviors to achieve environmental quality."


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