Missing the point on coal ash bill

McCrory Raleigh

From an editorial published Tuesday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:

If only Gov. Pat McCrory’s righteous indignation at the legislature’s coal ash regulatory bill came out of a desire for stronger regulation that would truly get tough with the governor’s former employer, his veto would be welcomed. Unfortunately, the governor’s veto looks more like a fuss between McCrory and the GOP leaders on Jones Street over jurisdiction than it does a disagreement over regulation itself.

McCrory says the bill shouldn’t create a commission to regulate cleanup at Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. That’s his job, an executive job, the governor believes. And, he says the bill doesn’t act quickly enough on water safety. The bill would assure neighbors of coal ash ponds that they could be connected to municipal water supplies, with Duke paying, if they feared their wells were polluted.

In February 2014, Duke employees saw coal ash waste spilling out of a storage pond near Eden into the Dan River. A huge investigation ensued, with Duke trying to minimize its financial and image damages and Republicans in the General Assembly appearing confused about what to do to regulate coal ash ponds. More than two years later, there’s little reason for confidence that the issue has been resolved in any definitive fashion.