Two North Carolina Counties Want To Get Paid To Take Coal Ash

Dec 4, 2014

Duke Energy owns and operates 32 coal ash ponds at 14 sites across North Carolina.
Credit Duke Energy

Duke Energy’s plan to dispose of coal ash in abandoned clay mines in two North Carolina counties may hit a snag.

If coal waste was trash from your kitchen trash can, and ended up in a private landfill, the owners of that landfill would be required to pay a host fee of $2 per ton of trash.

Duke Energy’s plan to dispose of 20 million tons of coal ash in abandoned clay mines in Lee and Chatham counties should come under the same rules, say officials in Lee County.

The waste company hired by Duke Energy says the host fees should not apply, because the coal ash would be held for future use.

If the fees can be worked out, many say the method could be a good solution for the coal ash.

“An old mine site, which has already been disturbed could be a good place,” says Frank Holleman, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “And water goes through clay less easily than regular soil, so it could be extra protection.”

Next week, Duke Energy will hold community information sessions in Lee and Chatham counties.