McCrory coal ash announcement miffs GOP lawmakers

In this Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 photo, signs of coal ash swirl in the water in the Dan River in Danville, Va. Duke Energy estimates that up to 82,000 tons of coal ash has been released from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the Dan River Power Plant in Eden N.C.Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps. Each time, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has effectively halted the lawsuit by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority to take enforcement action. In two cases, the state has proposed modest fines but no requirement that the nation’s largest electricity provider actually clean up the coal ash ponds. The third case is pending. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
In this Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 photo, signs of coal ash swirl in the water in the Dan River in Danville, Va. Duke Energy estimates that up to 82,000 tons of coal ash has been released from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the Dan River Power Plant in Eden N.C.Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps. Each time, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has effectively halted the lawsuit by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority to take enforcement action. In two cases, the state has proposed modest fines but no requirement that the nation’s largest electricity provider actually clean up the coal ash ponds. The third case is pending. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Some North Carolina lawmakers say they were surprised and miffed by fellow Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s announcement that he’s seeking legislation to beef up government oversight of coal ash dumps.

State Sen. Tom Apodaca and Rep. Chuck McGrady are Republicans from Hendersonville working to write a new law. Both said they were surprised by McCrory’s announcement after believing they were working together with the governor.

Lawmakers started working after a massive spill at a Duke Energy power plant near Greensboro coated the Dan River in toxic sludge.

Apodaca says he’ll propose legislation tougher than what McCrory outlined, including deadlines for removing waste from some pits.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources spokesman Drew Elliott says agency officials see the proposal as a starting point that legislators can revamp.

 

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