On Friday morning, North Carolina Rep. Pricey Harrison will testify before a House hearing on “the role of the states in protecting the environment under current law.” It’s an area she knows a lot about – in 2007, Harrison introduced a bill to prohibit utilities in North Carolina from purchasing or burning coal from mountaintop removal mines.
Subcommittee members will hear testimony on issues related to current laws including the Safe Drinking Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act under which states are given the primary authority to regulate wastewater and coal ash pollution.
Watch Rep. Pricey Harrison’s testimony and the hearing Friday at 9:30 a.m. here.
During tomorrow’s hearing, Harrison will likely focus on the concerns of North Carolinians surrounding coal ash and the state’s failure to adequately protect communities and local waterways. The problem of coal ash is growing in North Carolina, and even as Duke Energy begins to retire ancient coal-fired power plants, the state has no clear plan on how to deal with legacy ash disposal sites that will remain long after plants are closed.
Learn about the hazards and history of coal ash sites in North Carolina and across the Southeast.
Duke merged with Progress Energy last year to become the largest utility in the country. Meanwhile, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources is coming off a fresh round of budget cuts, and faces continued uncertainty if North Carolina lawmakers continue on their current path.
Adding insult to injury, nearly every step of the process to bring fracking to North Carolina has been haphazardly handled. Now, the state General Assembly has introduced a law to circumvent the rule-making commission it put in place, you know, if it isn’t moving fast enough.
North Carolina has a history of environmental leadership, but recent proposals in the state legislature, including a reckless plan to remove all the members of several environmental commissions, are threatening to reverse that trend.
Lawmakers are on an anti-regulatory bender in the Tarheel State. And without federal oversight North Carolinians will be at risk as underfunded state agencies work to enforce environmental rules while finding ways to prevent the next budget cut.