N.C. General Assembly to Consider Coal Ash

By Brian Sewell

In the first North Carolina legislative session since a Duke Energy coal ash pond spilled 39,000 tons of toxic ash into the Dan River, two lawmakers introduced a bill based on Gov. Pat McCrory’s coal ash cleanup proposal. The governor’s proposal mirrors previous recommendations made by the utility itself, and State Senator Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) has said McCrory’s plan does not go far enough. Apodaca plans to introduce a separate bill, and other lawmakers have also discussed legislation.

Disagreement regarding coal ash management also surfaced amongst shareholders at Duke Energy’s annual meeting. More than 200 protesters gathered outside to denounce the utility’s plan to charge customers for the cost of cleaning up all but two of its coal ash ponds. The estimated costs range from $5 billion to $10 billion, which could raise average household bills by more than $20 per month.

Kentucky Pipeline Proposal Suspended

The controversial Bluegrass Pipeline project lost its luster in April after the project’s backers suspended investment due to a lack of customers to buy the natural gas liquids the pipeline promised to carry. The Williams Company previously said it would put the project on hold for a year while it looked for customers.

Obama Unveils Efforts to Expand Solar Efficiency

President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Energy to improve efficiency in affordable housing, set stronger efficiency standards for commercial appliances and strengthen building codes. The Energy Department will also expand the Solar Instructor Training Network through community colleges with a goal of training 50,000 workers by 2020.


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