UPDATE: Unanimous Senate Vote For Duke To Close All Coal Ash Dumps

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The North Carolina Senate has given preliminary approval to legislation ordering Duke Energy to close all its coal ash dumps in the state by 2029.

Tuesday's unanimous vote came about four months after a spill from a Duke plant in Eden coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge. The measure sponsored by Senate Leader Phil Berger and Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca requires Duke to move ash from dumps at four Duke plants into lined landfills. A new coal ash commission and state regulators would decide whether the millions of tons of ash at 10 remaining plants could be capped and left in place.

The bill faces votes in the House before heading to the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory, who worked for Duke for 29 years.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)


A committee of the North Carolina Senate advanced a bill aimed at stopping groundwater pollution leaching from Duke Energy's coal pits in the state, despite concerns raised by the company that it won't be able to meet the mandated closure deadlines.

The Agriculture and Environment Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the latest version of the bill backed by Republican leaders. The measure would require the nation's largest electricity company to close its leaky dumps at four high-risk sites within five years. Dumps at 10 other sites would have to close by 2029.

Duke lobbyist George Everett told lawmakers he doubted the company could meet those deadlines and suggested removing them from the bill. The bill's sponsors declined.

The measure now heads for debate before another committee set for Wednesday.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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Duke Energy is expressing concern about proposed legislation requiring the closure of all of its North Carolina coal ash dumps by 2029. The company says that's about half the 30 years it will need.

The bill backed by Republican leaders in the state Senate was presented to a key committee Monday and could move to a floor vote later in the week. The measure would require Duke to remove its 100 million tons of coal ash now stored in 33 unlined pits across the state or seal it in place.

Duke spokesman Jeff Brooks says complying with the 15-year deadline would place a significant burden on the $50 billion company.

Environmentalists say the plan goes too easy on Duke, potentially allowing groundwater contamination from the toxic ash to continue.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Previous story:

A bill backed by key North Carolina lawmakers would require Duke Energy to close all of its coal ash dumps across the state within 15 years, with much of the toxic material going into lined landfills.

A copy of the proposed legislation distributed Sunday to members of the state Senate was obtained by the Associated Press. It orders the nation's largest electricity company to stop pumping its ash into water-filled pits by the end of 2019. Duke's more than 100 million tons of existing ash would either have to be dug up and removed or sealed in place to stop contaminating groundwater.

The legislation comes four months after a massive spill that coated 70 miles of the Dan River in sludge. A committee is set to debate the measure Monday.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)