by: Tina Terry Updated:
CHARLOTTE - The North Carolina Senate voted on a controversial bill that would force Duke Energy to close coal ash ponds around the state including three in the Charlotte area. In a unanimous decision North Carolina Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 729.
The bill requires Duke Energy to close coal ash ponds in Mount Hilly, Belmont, Salisbury, and all over the state. It sets an aggressive deadline, requiring high risk facilities to close by 2019. All others would close by 2029.
The Catawba Riverkeeper is concerned because Duke won’t be required to physically remove coal ash from all of its ponds.
Early Tuesday Sen. Joel Ford said he took issue with a portion of the bill that allowed Duke Energy to ask the utilities commission to pass the cost of cleanup onto rate payers. Ford and local Sen. Jeff Tart both supported an amendment that would have changed that, but it was voted down.