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
9:43 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

NC General Assembly Week In Review: Teacher Pay, Coal Ash, Film Incentives

As part of a budget deal struck by the North Carolina General Assembly, lawmakers approved a $10 million grant program form movie and television production studios to film in North Carolina. In 2012, Comedy Central's the Daily Show broadcast from Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention.
Credit Comedy Central

As North Carolina lawmakers are wrapping their “short” legislative session, which dragged on more than a month longer than they’d originally anticipated, they struck a deal on a plan to raise public school teacher pay. They also agreed to replace the state’s expiring credits for movie and television companies with a more modest grant package.

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The State of Things
11:57 am
Fri August 1, 2014

New Budget Nearly In Place

Credit Dave DeWitt

  

The General Assembly’s budget proposal is headed to the state House after a late night in the Senate. 

Senators passed the $21 billion spending plan around 1:00 a.m. and then adjourned for the session. But they left some bills on the table, including a plan to clean up Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds and a proposal to overhaul Medicaid.

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with WUNC capitol reporter Jorge Valencia and WUNC's education policy reporter, Reema Khrais, about the conclusion of the short session.

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Politics & Government
8:31 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Senators Pass Budget, But Will Return For Coal Ash, Medicaid

Credit Dave DeWitt

After a 15-hour day at the legislature, Senators voted this morning to pass the $21.3 billion state spending plan. 

Senators didn't leave the legislative building until about 1 a.m. They were determined to make a final vote on the budget and wrap up any loose ends before heading home. 

But they'll be back soon enough. They're expected to return in a couple of weeks to take up any possible vetoes from the Governor. Then, they'll be back in November to pick up at least two bills they didn't finish. 

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Environment
8:48 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Six Months After The Spill: Tourism Flows, Tobacco Grows and Questions Linger Along The Dan River

Tourism is doing well along the Dan River in Rockingham County, a few miles upstream from the site of a massive coal ash spill in February.
Credit Jeff Tiberii

Following a massive coal ash spill into the Dan River in February, The Department of Health and Human Services issued an advisory downstream from the site, recommending people stay out of the water. Now, after surface water and soil testing, state health officials say recreational use of the Dan River is safe.

 

It has now been almost six months since a Duke Energy storm water pipe ruptured near the Virginia border, sending 39,000 tons of potentially toxic material into the Dan River. Some of the effects have been marginal and others remain unknown.

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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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