The Latest News On The Coal Ash Spill in Eden, NC

Coal ash is the waste that remains when coal is burned. It is usually collected in a dump, known as a pond. North Carolina has more than 30 such sites in 14 different locations across the state. A pipe running under one of the ponds run by Duke Energy in Eden NC ruptured in February of 2014. The coal ash spilled, largely affecting the Dan River which flows into Virginia. The spill is the third largest of its kind in U.S. history.

Many see potential complications because North Carolina's governor, Pat McCrory, worked for Duke Energy for 28 years.

WUNC reporter Jeff Tiberii has been reporting on the story.

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Politics & Government
6:41 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

NC House Approves Plan For Coal Ash Clean Up, Sends It To Senate

Some 39,000 tons of ash leaked from a pond in Eden, N.C., into the Dan River in February.
Credit Riverkeeper Foundation

The state House of Representatives has signed off on a plan to close and clean up Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds.

The ash in the ponds is a contamination threat to waterways. And Duke Energy says it could cost up to 10-billion dollars to remove all of it.

In a House debate today, Democratic leader Larry Hall asked who would pay for the clean up.

"The rate payers really should not be penalized further in this bill," Hall said."That's the big elephant in the room."

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Politics & Government
8:04 am
Thu July 3, 2014

NC House, After Heated Debate, Tentatively Approves Coal Ash Bill

The cleanup for the 2008 Tennessee coal ash disaster. Image taken March 2012.
Credit Appalachian Voices / via Creative Commons/Flickr

At the General Assembly, lawmakers are getting close to finalizing a bill outlining the future of Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds. Lawmakers have been looking into the situation since February, when 39,000 tons of ash leaked from one pond and coated the Dan River with gray sludge.

The issue of 100 million tons of coal ash in ponds across the state has been slowly growing over the past century.

Utility companies burned coal to generate electricity, cooled off the ashes by mixing them with water, and dumped them into unlined ponds.

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The State of Things
12:55 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Education And Medicaid Spending Still At Issue In Budget Negotiations

Credit NC General Assembly

  

It’s a new fiscal year as of Tuesday, but the legislature has yet to reach an agreement on budget adjustments. 

The House and Senate are still at odds over how to spend money on education and Medicaid. 

Lawmakers are also trying to sort out a coal ash regulation bill, public records rules for charter schools, and higher penalties for prison inmates who get a hold of cell phones.

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Politics & Government
9:39 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

NC Governor Would Get More Authority Over Coal Ash Commission Under House Committee Proposal

Duke Energy's coal burning facility near Salisbury, N.C.
Credit Waterkeeper Alliance

Members of a North Carolina House of Representatives committee are expected to debate on Wednesday a new proposal to prevent contamination from 33 coal ash ponds Duke Energy owns across the state.

The proposal, which was released to members of the House environment committee on Tuesday, would move a commission overseeing the cleanup under the oversight of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (under a previous proposal, the commission would have been independent) and grants the governor authority to appoint the chair of the nine-person body.

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Politics & Government
7:53 am
Mon June 30, 2014

NC General Assembly Stories We’re Following: Week Of Monday, June 30

The North Carolina Legislative Building
Credit NC General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers say they want to break the impasse on a state budget this week. But those aren’t the only bills on their docket.

Leaders in the Senate and the House have been talking about Common Core and Coal Ash since they started meeting in May.

The Senate wants to consider keeping parts of Common Core, the national academic standards for public school students. The House wants to completely replace them.

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Politics & Government
8:32 am
Wed June 25, 2014

NC Senate Tentatively Approves Plan To Close Duke Energy Coal Ash Ponds Within 15 Years

Duke Energy's coal-burning plant and the adjacent coal ash ponds by the Dan River.
Credit Riverkeeper Foundation

The North Carolina Senate has tentatively approved a plan to close Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds within 15 years.

The plan prioritizes four ponds that Republican lawmakers say are the biggest contamination threats. Duke would have to dig out all the ash and take it to dry storage.

Some Democrats want more ponds to be made high priority.

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The State of Things
12:24 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

State Senate Files Coal Ash Regulation Bill

Coal ash pond
Credit Waterkeeper Alliance

  

The state Senate is pushing a proposal that would close all of Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds in North Carolina. 

The plan lays out a timeline for Duke Energy to close the ponds, adds more oversight positions, and puts some restrictions on rate increases. 

It is part of an ongoing discussion about new regulations for utilities that use the ponds since 39,000 tons of ash spilled into the Dan River earlier this year.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capital reporter Jorge Valencia about the latest coal ash legislation.

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The State of Things
12:22 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Film Shows Coal Ash Effects Across Country

Collapsed House Near Kingston Spill
Credit Wikipedia

A conversation with journalist and filmmaker Rhiannon Fionn

    

The coal ash spill in the Dan River earlier this year turned a public spotlight on the issue of coal ash disposal. The challenges around coal ash waste have existed in communities throughout the nation for decades.

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Politics & Government
7:49 am
Tue June 17, 2014

NC Senate Leaders Want Duke Energy To Close Its Coal Ash Ponds Within 15 Years

Credit Waterkeeper Alliance

At the North Carolina General Assembly, key members of the Senate will take their first vote today on a coal ash proposal. Lawmakers have been grappling all year with possible contamination from 33 coal ash ponds Duke Energy has across the state.

The problem is not new. North Carolina has been accumulating coal ash for most of the past century. Power companies burn coal to generate electricity, cool off the remaining ash with water and then pour it into ponds and keep it there.

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Politics & Government
7:42 am
Mon June 16, 2014

NC General Assembly Stories We’re Following: Week Of Monday, June 16

Photo: The North Carolina Legislative Building in downtown Raleigh
Credit Jorge Valencia

North Carolina’s General Assembly leadership is expected to begin negotiations this week to reconcile two proposals for the state’s $21.1 billion budget, a legislation that touches many aspects of government, but has centered on how to give pay raises to public school teachers.

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