Meeting Canceled, Coal Ash Commission Uncertain After Court Decision
The commission overseeing North Carolina’s clean-up of coal ash around the state has canceled its upcoming meeting, because of a court decision that has called the group’s legitimacy into question.
On Monday, Governor Pat McCrory won a lawsuit against the General Assembly’s Republican leaders. A Wake County superior court found that three commissions they created violate the state’s constitution. The court ruled the commissions—mostly appointed by legislators—perform the duties of the executive branch, thereby usurping the governor’s authority. That includes the Coal Ash Management Commission, where six of the nine members are appointed by legislators.
“Under the current ruling, the commission was unable to form a quorum for the meeting,” said Julia Jarema, a spokeswoman for the commission.
Without guidance from the court and while General Assembly leaders appeal, the status of the six members remains in limbo.
The meeting was set for Friday in Charlotte to discuss ways to up the amount of coal ash that’s recycled into concrete or other safer uses.
Jarema says the commission’s staff will keep working, while General Assembly leaders appeal. That staff has its own constraints—a funding glitch has left the commission with less than half its intended money.