Coal ash bill passes Senate, ratepayers may still pay - WNCN: News, Weather

Coal ash bill passes Senate, ratepayers may still pay

Posted: Updated:
The Senate debates a bill requiring Duke Energy clean up all of its coal ash ponds in North Carolina. The Senate debates a bill requiring Duke Energy clean up all of its coal ash ponds in North Carolina.
  • Coal Ash SpillMore>>

  • Environment group says public 'mislead' to think Dan River is clean

    Environment group says public 'mislead' to think Dan River is clean

    Friday, July 18 2014 2:06 PM EDT2014-07-18 18:06:07 GMT
    Waterkeeper Alliance says photos show coal ash is still present in the Dan River. (Waterkeeper Alliance)Waterkeeper Alliance says photos show coal ash is still present in the Dan River. (Waterkeeper Alliance)
    Waterkeeper Alliance provided photos it says show deposits of coal ash still in the Dan River despite claims to the contrary.
    Waterkeeper Alliance provided photos it says show deposits of coal ash still in the Dan River despite claims to the contrary.
  • NC, Va. groups to monitor coal ash in Dan River

    NC, Va. groups to monitor coal ash in Dan River

    Friday, July 18 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-07-18 13:59:45 GMT
    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.
    Two water protection groups will continue to monitor the Dan River to identify coal ash from a massive spill in North Carolina that flowed into Virginia.
    Two water protection groups will continue to monitor the Dan River to identify coal ash from a massive spill in North Carolina that flowed into Virginia.
  • Feds: Duke Energy has finished moving coal ash from Dan River

    Feds: Duke Energy has finished moving coal ash from Dan River

    Thursday, July 17 2014 3:03 PM EDT2014-07-17 19:03:48 GMT
    Duke has dredged up about 2,500 tons of ash and contaminated sediment, as well as another 500 tons that had accumulated in settling tanks at downstream municipal water treatment plants.
    Duke has dredged up about 2,500 tons of ash and contaminated sediment, as well as another 500 tons that had accumulated in settling tanks at downstream municipal water treatment plants.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The North Carolina Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would force Duke Energy to close all of its coal ash ponds by 2029. But the question still stands: Who will pay for it?

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have an obligation as the General Assembly, as the law making body to step up," said Sen. Mike Woodard (D-Durham).

Woodard offered up an amendment to SB 729 that would have required Duke Energy to pay for closing and cleaning up its 33 ponds, but Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) argued that's a job for the Utilities Commission.

"I think that's what the Utilities Commission is charged with, to make those decisions," Apodaca said. Instead, Apodaca offered a sub-amendment, which included longer coal ash monitoring, but did not require Duke to pay for cleanup.

"We all know what's happening here," said Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake). "You had an opportunity to be clear to your voters, the people of North Carolina, to the ratepayers who would have to bear the costs."

Stein suggested that Apodaca separate his amendment from Woodard's so both could be voted on. Apodaca refused and the sub-amendment passed 33 to 13.

The final bill passed unanimously. It now heads to the House for debate.

If the proposal for a rate increase does surface, Attorney General Roy Cooper said he'll fight it.

"The legislature should say so now. If it goes to the Utilities Commission, it's quite possible that consumers will pay part if not all of the cleanup costs," Cooper said.

Duke Energy estimates cleanup costs could reach up to $10 billion.

"It is something that they can handle. Working families, businesses, people having to pay these utility bills should not be responsible for this," Cooper added.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is an investigative reporter and member of the WNCN Investigates team. His storytelling specialty is connecting the dots to get to the truth, with a goal of delivering results for our community. If you have something you’d like WNCN to investigate, contact Jonathan.

More>>

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • UNC: Former athletes can return to finish degrees

    UNC: Former athletes can return to finish degrees

    Thursday, July 24 2014 1:04 PM EDT2014-07-24 17:04:36 GMT
    UNC Chancellor Carol Folt. (File photo)UNC Chancellor Carol Folt. (File photo)
    University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program Thursday that will allow former UNC athletes to return and finish their uncompleted degrees.
    University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program Thursday that will allow former UNC athletes to return and finish their uncompleted degrees.
  • Indian teen has 232 'teeth' removed from jaw

    Indian teen has 232 'teeth' removed from jaw

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:23 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:23:39 GMT
    After complaining of pain in his jaw, an Indian teen and his family discovered that he had a severe dental condition - and surgeons pulled 232 "teeth" from his jaw. 
    After complaining of pain in his jaw, an Indian teen and his family discovered that he had a severe dental condition - and surgeons pulled 232 "teeth" from his jaw. 
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.