Pat McCrory names coal ash commission members

Gov. Pat McCrory has named a UNC Chapel Hill finance professor to chair the new Coal Ash Management Commission, created by state legislators last month.

McCrory allowed the compromise bill that created the nine-member commission to become law without his signature.

The governor has voiced constitutional concerns about an “unchecked, nonjudicial commission that reports to no one, has no accountability and adds another level of unneeded bureaucracy.”

The N.C. House and Senate will appoint six of its nine members. The legislation lets the governor name three members, including its chair.

Michael Jacobs, whom McCrory named chair, teaches corporate governance and business and government classes in the master’s of business administration program at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

He’s also the founder and CEO of Jacobs Capital LLC, an investment banking firm.

McCrory also named as members Herbert Eckerlin, a professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering at N.C. State University, and Larry Cobb, a Durham lawyer and former Republican legislator who served on the N.C. Utilities Commission.

The House and Senate made five of their six appointments in August, including two members from Mecklenburg County.

Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Huntersville, named UNC Charlotte civil engineering professor Rajaram Janardhanam and Raleigh’s Tim Bennett, a vice president of the N.C. Electric Membership Corp., which supplies energy to electric cooperatives. A third appointment will come soon, Tillis’ office said.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, recommended Dr. Allen Hayes, a Raleigh physician; Rockingham County engineer and construction company owner Scott Flanagan; and Mecklenburg resident Harrell Jamison Auten III, a retired executive at a waste management company.

The coal ash measure, a response to Duke Energy’s February spill into the Dan River, requires Duke to close its 33 North Carolina ash ponds by 2029 but allows three-year extensions.

The commission’s duties are to approve hazard classifications assigned to the ponds and closure plans for them, and to make recommendations on ash management rules.