North Carolina lawmakers are focusing on legislation they say makes the state the nation’s first to address decades of toxic water pollution from residue left behind by coal-burning electricity plants.
The state House on Wednesday approved legislation addressing the problem unmasked six months ago when a coal ash spill from a Duke Energy plant coated 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge. Final passage was expected in the Senate later Wednesday.
Environmentalists said the legislation improved on earlier efforts, but didn’t go far enough.
Lawmakers said the measure would reverse a Superior Court judge’s ruling that Duke must take “immediate action” to eliminate groundwater contamination that crosses onto a neighboring property. Environmental attorney Frank Holleman says that will allow Duke to study the problem indefinitely before starting cleanup.
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