Senate To Vote To Fix Coal Ash "Glitch"
The North Carolina Senate is moving to fix a problem with the state’s new Coal Ash Management Commission. Lawmakers created the commission last year to oversee clean-up and closure of Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds around the state, but an error in the bill has left the commission short on funds.
Three months after its first meeting, the Coal Ash Management Commission still doesn’t have the funds to hire half of its five-member staff, because of what commission chairman Michael Jacobs calls a “glitch” in the law.
A fee charged to Duke Energy pays for both the commission and new staff at the state environmental agency to help with coal ash clean-up. The agency gets first bite at the money, and that’s left little of the fund’s $2.4 million for the commission that’s supposed to oversee the clean-up.
Lawmakers say they’re fixing the glitch. The Senate will vote today on a bill that will give the commission over $600,000 immediately, as well as in future years, to hire and pay its staff. It’s the first policy change the state Senate will consider this year.