- An amendment being considered in the North Carolina Senate could weaken the requirement that Duke Energy recycle some portion of the waste from coal ash pits.
- According to NC Policy Watch, HB 374 has become a magnet for many amendments, and among those was an amendment that reduced oversight of coal ash disposal.
- But Duke has said it is not behind the legislation, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. The utility said it didn't ask for the amendment, does not need it, and intends to follow through on its ash recycling commitments.
While the coal ash amendment to HB 374 could still undo some parts of the requirement that Duke recycle coal ash, the utility said it is moving ahead with recycling the waste at two sites and is in the process of naming a third.
Some of the waste will be recycled into material for concrete, but the original amendment would have paused development of two sites Duke has designated, and delay a deadline to name a third, while the utility determined whether the recycling project was cost effective. The rolled back version of the amendment still inserts a cost effectiveness test for the third location, but stipulates the other two move forward.
Duke has been trying to reduce its cost exposure to the coal ash cleanup, and is suing several insurance companies that covered its coal ash operations decades ago. But those companies—more than two dozen—say they are not on the hook for cleanup costs because any property damage was "caused intentionally, by or at Duke’s direction.”
The 30 insurance companies say they have no liability in the matter because Duke stored most of the waste in unlined pits and left it there "long after it knew it had environmental problems."
Duke has more than a dozen coal ash sites to clean up in North Carolina, and last year, developed a proposal to excavate 34 basins and cap another 18 basins in place as part of its efforts to protect drinking water from the waste.