[0:00:00.0] Ladies and Gentlemen call this meeting to order, I would like to introduce our Sergeant of arms Mr. Steve Wilson, thank you Steve, Josh Jeffery. Mr. Josh thank you Billy ___[00:14] and thank you. In this meeting we have to discuss our coal ash this for the discussion only and the Senate Bill 729 we have a PCS to motion to accept the PCS so move to Senator Wade and any discussion only accept to the PCS, if not all those in favor say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All oppose say no. We have a PCS, Senator Burger and Senator Apodaca which one are…Senator Burger. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman and members of the committee the bill is before you represents the most comprehensive effort to address the issue of coal ash in the nation and it is something that goes a long way to protecting our water and protecting our people from the dangerous environmental risk and dangerous of coal ash. Senator Apodaca is the member of that probably has more of the information certainly more than I have, I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of this legislation. However, as I think it does a great deal to address what is one of the larger problems that we have in North Carolina at the present time particularly from an environmental standpoint and with that I will be here and would be more happy to try to answer your questions for a while but I probably won’t stay for the entire meeting. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sure. [Laughter] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Senator Burger. What I would like to do to start out with a broad overview of the bill and go through the half ones and then we can turn it over to staff to get down with the technical items of the bill. We are not rushing this bill through, today we will discuss it as long as we need to and we will come back and discuss more before we put it up for a vote. So, I really want everyone to feel comfortable with this and I personally think it’s a great piece of legislation, I think we are gonna be setting the trend for the rest of the country to follow when it comes to dealing with coal ash. So, with that being said, as I said I’m pleased to present legislation the bills on the foundation that was set by Governor McCrory and sets comprehensive and aggressive plan for coal ash mitigation. This bill would get North Carolina the strictest regulations on coal ash in the entire country and make us the first state to force closure of all coal ash ponds. Addressing the environmental regulatory and consumer protection concerns calls by coal ash ponds is one of the Senates top priorities that’s why it was focused on the very first bill we found this short session. The problem begins roughly 80 years ago and for decades the solution has been to historical ash and unlined ponds. It is the time we dealt with this problem and do it in a safe and comprehensive way. The goal here is to get North Carolina out of the coal ash business. The big picture of our proposal is that it drives out and closes each pump it stops the disposal of wet coaled ash and requires future coal ash to be put to a beneficial use or into a land facility, specifies dewater and close all ponds requires that all 33 coal ash ponds in North Carolina the dewatered enclosed within 15 years prior to ash closure according to risk, ponds will be closed according to the overall risk they pose, foresights have been designated to be excavated and closed as quickly as possible and no later than 2019. Those four are dam river ash coal river been ___[04:26]. Remaining sites will be classified as high medium or low risk. This classification must happen by August of next year. Closure deadlines, high risk must be closed by no later than August 1st, 2019. An immediate risk must be close by no later than August 1st, 2024. Low risk must be closed by no later than August 1st, 2029. [0:05:00.4] [End of file…]
This stops the disposal of wet coal ash, requires utilities to convert their plants to dry ash handling. All utility plant must phase out the generation of wet ash b=y the end of 2019. This bill sets standards for safe disposal of existing and future ash. High and intermediate ??? must place ash in a lime landfill or put toward a beneficial use. High and intermediate ??? may not be capped in place. Low risk, the utility may only consider capping in place a low risk ?? if both DENR and the neutral commission approve this method. If capping is used the utility will be required to follow the landfill capping regulations as to closure that includes a thirty year water quality monitoring. Future ash that is generated will either be put to beneficial use or stored in a lime facility. Coal ash commission as a neutral commission will review risk classifications as well as the closure plans that are proposed by the utility. This commission consists of nine people with diverse backgrounds including areas of science, public health, waste management, and conservation. Additional regulatory positions are created by this bill, creates 29 new positions for regulation and mitigation of oversight of cold ash cleanup, 25 DENR, four staff for the commission. The regulatory positions and the coal ash commissions operating the expenses will be funded by the utilities with coal ash ?? and cannot be passed on to consumers. Encourages smart solutions and this is a key factor, Senator Hartsell and I have already been talking about this earlier, coal ash can be used productive and safely for many things. We must recognize that there is not enough existing landfill space in North Carolina for all of this ash and that we don’t want to fill up North Carolina’s existing landfills because we need them. We are addressing this several ways. Beneficial use is still allowed under the bill and DENR and the commission for public health will study ways to maximize beneficial ways. Structural fill, the bill strengthens the regulations on the use of coal ash as a structural fill. Structural fill is a great way to use large amounts of ash but in the past liners have not been required. The new bill requires large structural fill projects to be permitted and to use a landfill grade liner and leeching system as well as conduct long term ground water monitoring. There’s been some erroneous reports in some of the newspapers on this item, we want to clear that up front. I know we’re shocked that some of the newspapers didn’t get it right but anyway. One year moratorium for the remaining projects with the exceptions of roads. Commercial use also requires utilities with coal ash ponds to analyze the market for the commercial and innovative use of coal ash and the study technology to convert coal residues into commercial grade combustion product suitable for industry use. This bill also protects water quality, requires utilities to assess and correct existing and future contamination of ground and surface waters with oversight through DENR. Number ten, dams it strengthens dam inspection laws by requiring more frequent inspections and creation of an emergency action plan. We have worked very hard and long to develop this plan and I certainly appreciate the work staff has put into this because it has been a phenomenal undertaking and a very time consuming undertaking and staff it’s just been wonderful, but I want to leave you with this. This bill gives North Carolina the strictest regulations..
Cold ash in the entire country and it also makes us the first state in the country to force the closure of all cold ash ponds. So that is what I have to say. If staff.. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Got a lot better looking. Staff if you would continue please. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Ms. McGuiness, Ms. Fennel, and I are going to share an explanation of the proposed committee substitute. We’re going to take it a little bit out of order so we can group like things alike. Ms. Fennel is going to talk about cost recovery and resources for implementation. Ms. McGuiness is going to talk about prioritization and closure and I’m going to talk about groundwater and surface area protection and the dam safety provisions in the PCS so the part I’m going to start on is page three of the bill. About halfway down is provisions for comprehensive management for coal combustion residuals. This section creates a new part in the general statutes for coal ash management. You’ll see there we have a title coal ash management act of 2014 and a series of new definitions related to coal ash management. I won’t go through those but as we go through the bill and need to reference those definitions we’ll talk about those. The first substantive section is over on page five of the bill, this is the new coal ash management commission that Senator Apodaca referenced. It’s a nine member commission, it’s appointed with three appointments by the recommendation of the president pro tem, and the senate actually does the appointment. For three of the appointments it’s by the recommendation of the speaker, appointments by the house, and then three by the governor. The first three are the president pro tem’s recommendations. One would be a resident of the state, one would have special training or scientific expertise in waste management including solid waste disposal, hauling, or beneficial use, and one would be a licensed physician or person with experience in public health. The recommendation of the speaker would be a member of a nongovernmental conservation interest, a person who is actively employed by or recently retired from an industrial manufacturing facility, and a person with experience in the use of coal combustion residuals as structural fill for construction or development projects. The governor’s three appointments would be a person with experience in economic development, a representative of an electric membership corporation, and a person with experience in science and engineering. And over on the next page you’ll see the powers and duties of this commission. About the middle of the page they are to review and approve the classification of the coal combustion residual surface impoundments that Ms. McGuiness will talk about later in the bill. Also to review and approve the closure plans for the impoundments. Again, Ms. McGuiness will go over that in more detail but again this commission will have the ultimate review and approval authority for the classifications and closure plants. The commission will also review and make recommendations regarding the coal ash management provisions. This part as well as an any other state laws or rules regarding coal ash management, and finally the commission would undertake any studies as directed by the general assembly. A couple of things I would note about the commission before I move on. It’s got a quarterly reporting requirement to the general assembly’s environmental review commission on its operations and activities and also it will be administratively located in the division of emergency management in the department of public safety; however, it will exercise all of its powers and duties independently. It would not be subject to the supervision, direction, or control of the division of emergency management or the department of public safety. The next new statutory provision is on page seven, this is expedited permit review. Because of the desire to have the coal ash impoundments dealt with in an expedited fashion, this provides for an expedited timetable for departmental review and approval of all permits necessary to implement this part and conduct activities required by this part. There’s another reporting requirement at the bottom of page seven, this is from the department to report to the environmental review commission and the coal ash management as to all its operations and activities on coal ash management in carrying out this part. The next substantive provision is over on the page eight, this regards local government regulation of coal ash management. This provision is similar to provisions in several other environmental..
There he is where there is a certain level of preemption of local government ordinances in a particular area that is regulated by the state in this case all previsions of local ordinances would be invalidated to the extent that they placed any restrictions or condition above and beyond what this part does on the management of coal ash products and residuals or they in any manner conflict with or are inconsistent with this part. There is a process also by which existing local ordinances that have general applicability could be appealed to the environmental management commission to look at and determine if in whole or in part those types of ordinances should be preempted also, and basically the policy behind that is to have uniform management of coal ash across the state rather than have localized regulation of coal ash. Over on page 10 is the next ?? provision this is federal preemption, as many of you may know the US EPA is working on a coal ash rules right now this would recognize that and say to the extent that we would be in conflict with those federal rules that would preempt the state law in this case. The middle of page 10 is the first section that really gets into some of the timeline that people have be interested in seeing this is the new statute on generation disposal and use of coal combustion residual so this is one of the parts of the bill that is the heart of coal ash management under this proposal it would provide with on or after July 1, 2014, the construction of new and expansion of existing coal combustion residual surface impoundments or coal ash ponds would be prohibited it would then provide on October 1, 2014 the disposal of coal ash into impoundments that electric generate in facilities that have been decommissioned that are no longer producing coal ash disposal would be prohibited again on or after October 1, 2014. On or after December 31, 2018 the discharge of storm water into the coal ash impoundments at decommissioned facilities would be prohibited on or after December 31, 2019 the discharge of storm water into the coal ash impoundments would be prohibited even at the active facilities where electricity is still being produced and coal ash is still being generated, then on or before December 31, 2018 all electric generating facilities must convert to the disposal of dry fly ash or the facility needs to be retired and then for dry bottom ash, on or before December 31st, 2019 the disposal must be converted to dry bottom ash or the facility must be retired. So again these are key dates for coal ash management under this plan. The next section deals with ground water assessment and corrective action as well as drinking water supply protection, this is all keyed to ground water, in the section after this will see is keyed to protection of surface water. So basically this requires the owner of an impoundment to assess the ground water condition at the impoundment. So no later than December 31st of this year, the owner of the impoundment must submit a proposed ground water assessment plan to the department among other things this plan has to assess the extent of soil and ground water contamination at the impoundment this is submitted to the department for the departments approval and the department will approve the plan if it determines that it complies with the requirements to this part and will be sufficient to protect health, safety, and well-fare, the environment and natural resources no later than 10 days from that approval, the impoundment owner must implement the assessment plan and then no later than 180 days from the approval of that assessment plan the owner must submit a ground water assessment report with the results of the assessment to the department so the department can see what kind of exceedances of ground water standards there are associated with the impoundment so that gives us the information on what's going on with ground water at the impountment. The next subsection the middle of page 11 provides for corrective action if there are ground water exceedances no later than 90 days from the submission of the ground water assessment report the impoundment owner has to submit a proposed corrective action plan for the department review and approval this plan has to provide for the restoration of ground water and conformance with existing
State law under the state groundwater quality rules. The department shall approve the plan, the corrective action plan if it determines it complies with the requirements of this part and again it sufficient to protect public health, safety, and welfare, the environment and natural resources, and then thirty days after the approval of that corrective action plan by the department the impoundment owner must begin implementation of the plan according to the plan scheduled. Again, we find out what’s going on with groundwater at the impoundments and then they have to do a corrective action to address those ground water exceedances that are found. The next subsection C on page 12 is designed to assess drinking water well supplies within one half mile of impoundments and if there are exceedances that are found in wells within that area the impoundment owner is required to provide an alternate source of ?? drinking water to any well owner where they have found to be exceedances. The types of constituents you would normally find in the Coal Ash impoundments. So that basically deals with the groundwater side of things. The surface water protections begin at the top of page 13. This new statute is for the identification, assessment, and correction of unpermitted discharges no later than December 31st of 2014. The owner of an impoundment has to submit a topographic map to the department that shows outfalls from the impoundment and seeps for the impoundment. The outfalls are engineered channels designed to capture and collect water. Seeps are more generalized discharges from the impoundment. The topo-map, there’s a number of things that it has to show that’s listed out there so that’s given to the department. Also the impoundment owner no later than December 31st 2014 as to come up with an assessment plan for unpermitted discharges so this is similar to in structure to the groundwater protections but this is for surface water so this has to include information sufficient to allow the department to determine whether any unpermitted discharge, including discharge from outfalls or seeps, has reached the surface waters of the state and has caused a violation of surface water quality standards. Once the department approves this assessment plan, within 30 days the impoundment owner has to implement the plan. If they’re found to be water quality violations, they have to produce a corrective action plan. Again, if the department determines that there’s been a violation of state or federal surface water quality standards, the department notifies the impoundment owner and then the impoundment owner has to come up with a corrective action plan within 30 days of the notice of violation. The corrective action plan can have one of several proposed corrective actions: eliminating the uneliminated discharge, capturing and rerouting it to a permanent outfall, implementation of best management practices or application for an amendment of an existing NPDS permit that would then include the discharge. If the department approves the corrective action plan the impoundment owner must implement the plan within thirty days. Finally for surface water protection the impoundment owner also has to come up with a plan for identifying new unpermitted discharges so they’ve had to identify and deal with the existing discharges that they found but they also have to have a plan for any new discharges that may occur, submit that to the permit, and then implement it within 30 days after approval by the department. So I’m going to now skip over to the dam safety and discharge portions of the bill, these are over on page 34. This first provision under strength and reporting and notification requirements applicable to discharges, this language is a recommendation of the general assembly’s environmental review commission that came out after that commission heard some presentations on the Dan River Coal Ash bill. It basically provides that the owner of a waste water collection or treatment works, it has to report a discharge of a thousand gallons..
More of untreated waste water to the surface waters of the state within 24 hours after the owner has determined that the discharge has reached the surface waters of the state. With Dan River and some other recent spills there’s been some concerns about how quickly the department was notified. This says within 24 hours of determining that the discharge reaches the surface waters of the state. Also under current law for discharges the owners of the treatment works have to provide a press release noting the discharges above a certain size within 48 hours, this would reduce that time for issuing the press release to 24 hours. The dam safety provisions are over on page 36. Section 7 of the PCS is about emergency repairs of dams. Under current law the dam owner just has to notify the department about emergency repairs forthwith, no one really knows what forthwith is so we clarified that. They have to notify the department of the proposed emergency repairs as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after first knowledge of the need for emergency repairs. Section 8 is in regards to emergency action plans. Basically it will require dam owners to prepare emergency action plans for those dams that have been classified by the department as high hazard or intermediate hazard and there’s a list of things that I won’t go into for what those emergency action plans have to provide but that is a gap that was recognized for some of these impoundments, to have emergency action plans. Section 10 on the bottom of page 37, this is for increased inspection of dams. Current laws says for department inspections of dams within the limits of available funds, the department will endeavor to provide for inspection of all dams at intervals of approximately five years. This increase dam inspection requirements for coal ash pounds significantly. Over on page 38 it requires that the department has to inspect each dam at least annually. It also requires that the owner of the coal ash impoundment to inspect the impoundment weekly and after storms to detect any evidence of deterioration or anything else that might affect the stability of the impoundment and if such deterioration is detected the owner has to hire a registered professional engineer to assess the deterioration and take corrective action if necessary. Also the owner of the impoundment is required to have an annual inspection done of the impoundment by an independent professional engineer. Again that’s at least annually. And I believe that concludes the portion that I was going to go over and now Ms. McGuiness will talk to you about prioritization and closure. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yes, members so it will bounce back to page 15 of the PCS at the bottom is a new section in the statutes that would cover prioritization of impoundments. The provision would require DENR to prioritize impoundments no later than August 1, 2015 based on these sites’ risk to public health, safety, the environment, natural resources, so to determine both the risk and a schedule for closure and require remediation based on their degree of risk and gives priority to closure and remediation of impoundments that pose the greatest risk. In assessing the risk DENR is directed to consider the groundwater and surface water assessments that Mr. Hudson described to you earlier as well as a host of factors on the top of page 16 and I’ll review these with you because of their importance to the prioritization process. DENR would be required to look at any imminent hazards to public health, safety, or welfare resulting from the impoundment, structural condition and hazard condition of the impoundment, proximity to surface waters, and whether any surface waters are contaminated or imminently threatened by contamination as a result of the impoundment, information concerning the horizontal and vertical extent of soil and groundwater contamination for all contaminants that are confirmed to be present in groundwater in exceedance of groundwater quality standards, and all significant factors affecting contaminant transport. Also, the location and nature of all receptors..
[0:00:00.0] …Insignificant exposure pathways, the geological and hydro geological features influencing the movement and chemical and physical character of the contaminants and the amount and characteristics of the coal combustion residuals in the empowerment and then any other factor that the department deems relevant. After considering these factors the dean would be required to issue a proposed classification for each empowerment based upon their assessment and identify it is either high risk, intermediate risk or low risk and within 30 days after issuing a proposed classification the department would be require issuing a written declaration including findings fact documenting the proposed classification. In addition a very extensive public participation process would be required if you look at pages 16 through mid 17 that contains all the details but insured a public hearing would be required around each empowerment that was subject to prioritization decision. After the public comment and public hearing period concluded within 30 days of a written comment the department would be required to submit a proposed classification for an empowerment to the Coal Ash Management Commission that Mr. Hudson described you earlier. The commission would then evaluate the information submitted and the proposed classification it would be directed to only approve a proposed classification if it determines that the classification was developed in accordance with the requirements of the part and that the classification accurately reflects the level of risk proposed by the empowerment, the commission would also be required to issue a written determination including findings of facts and then there is a process for parties to appeal decision of the commission perusing to chapter 150B of the general statue what is Administrative Procedure Act. So, moving on from the prioritization requirements to the closure requirements at the bottom of page 17 the PCS would require an owner of an empowerment to submit a proposed closure plan for Deaner’s approval, it specifically says, “If corrective action had not been completed in accordance with the process that Mr. Hudson described you that the plan would need to continue the corrective action measures.” And in addition, the closure plan would include or would have to comply with the fallings. So, for high risk empowerments they would be required to close as soon as practicable that no later than December 31st, 2019. First, they would be require to the water and then the PCS would provide that the empowerment could be converted to an industrial landfill that complies with all the requirements for landfill siding and construction in terms of the rules and statues. However, it does wave one of the requirements for siding up landfills as to buffers required to surface water streams and rivers and the requirement under rule expands the buffer required to 300 feet from surface waters and it also provides that if conversion to an industrial landfill is the desired approach that the contents of the empowerment would be excavated put safely to the side than lined there would be ___[04:10] collection system and other measures that are required for landfills and then the contents could be returned to the former empowerment now properly permitted industrial landfill. In addition to that option, the owner of the empowerments could remove all of the coal combustion residuals from the empowerment return the empowerment to a non-erosive instable condition and transfer the coal combustion residuals for disposal into either combustion products landfill, industrial landfill, municipal solid waste landfill or they could transfer the coal combustion products remove to structural fill or other beneficial use as allowed by law and… [0:04:59.8] [End of file…]
[0:00:00.0] And shortly I will review new structure field requirements with you. In immediate risk empowerments I would be subject to the same closure requirements to that of high risk empowerments but in immediate risk empowerments would have a deadline for closure December 31st, 2024 that’s the five years later within the high risk empowerments. Low risk empowerments would be require to close by December 31st, 2029, they two would be required to the water but instead of allowing them or requiring them to convert to landfill or transfer to a landfill these sites would be allow to be kept in place they would however require a cap that is suitable under the requirements for municipal solid waste landfills, it also allows the department to require any other measures de-necessarily for public health and safety welfare in the environment including implementation of institutional controls. The next several pages are details of what the Closure Plan would need to entail from the owner of the empowerment. Again, one submitted the department would need to allow both for public hearings and public comment on a proposed plan and then submit a preliminary approved plan to the commission for its approval. So, if you look on page 24, it has the processes for the commission again to approve a plan and if approved there are measures for persons to appeal the decision of the commission under Chapter 150B of the General Statues. Next on page 24 would be a new subpart with new requirements for structural fill, some of these requirements are already part of the administrative code and some new requirements applicable to what is deemed to be large field projects those are designated as projects using coal combustion products, structural fill involving placement of more than 10,000 tons of coal combustion products per acre or 100,000 or more tons of coal products in a total per project so that would be a large field project. The first provision as to permit requirements would render small projects deemed to permitted and then required an individual permit for these large scale structural field projects. On page 25, there is information that needs to be submitted for approval and conjunction with a permit application. Again, some of these are required information that needs to be submitted under existing law under the administrative code but some of it is new including a construction plan that would need to be submitted for large scale field projects, at the bottom of page 25 are new project requirements as to design construction operation structure field sites through page 26 line 32 our existing requirements and then beginning at line 33 on page 26 are new requirements for large structural field projects. So, for a project that involve placement over 10,000 or more tons per acre or 100,000 total per project there would need to be a baseliner and bottom of page 26 two options for a baseliner included and these are options for municipal solid waste landfills under the administrative code two of the four possible baseliner options also they would need to have a retake collection system, a cap liner and a ground water monitoring system. And mid page 27, you can see that the ground water monitoring system would include a sufficient number of wells, a propose monitoring plan certified by a licensed Geologist or professional Engineer to be effective in detecting any release hazard’s constituents. A ground water monitoring program, detection monitoring program, an assessment monitoring program… [0:04:59.9] [End of file…]
In addition to these technical requirements, a large structural fill project would also need to have financial assurance for their projects. And this language closely tracks the financial assurance requirements in the statutes for hazardous waste facilities. At the bottom of page 28 are closure requirements for structural fill projects, some of the already under the administrative code. But then starting at the very bottom of page 28 are some additional requirements for large structural fill. One in particular is that post-closure care would be required for a 20-year period, which is not required currently. So that in addition to maintaining the integrity of CAPS system and the lead shake collection system, they would need to have a written post-closure plan. On page 30, there is a provision that requires recordation of all projects using coal combustion products. Actually, these are for projects that have 1,000 or more cubic yards. And this is a requirement under existing law. There is a provision that exempts DOT projects. The current rules exempt DOT and allow the department and the DOT to negotiate their own structural fill requirements. At the bottom of page 30, there is a requirement of the department to inventory and inspect all large structural fill projects. That's 10,000 cubic yards or more and report back with this information. Finally, at the bottom of page 30, there is a direction to amend for the Environmental Management Commission to amend their rules as necessary to reflect the additional requirements under this part. At that bottom of page 30, and I should have mentioned this when I reviewed these specific closure requirements. As you might recall, the department was required to prioritize sites into high, intermediate and low. And then there were established deadlines and measures for closure. Under Section 3B on page 30, four impoundments are specifically identified and are designated as high priority and would be required to close by August 1, 2019. These are the Dan River Steam Station, Riverbend Steam Station, Asheville Steam Electric Generating Plant and Sutton Plant. These empoundments will need to be de-watered, all their coal combustion residuals would need to be removed and transferred to disposal in a cool combustion residuals landfill, an industrial landfill or municipal solid waste landfill, or used in a structural fill or beneficially used that was compliant with the applicable statutes and the rules. Also, much like the other impoundments, it directs that where ground water quality is degraded as a result of the impoundment, corrective action to restore ground water quality must be implemented by the owner or operator. At the bottom of page 31, there are some changes to definitions, including probably most notably, the change to the definition of solid waste. Dry coal ash has long been part of the definition of solid waste. Wet coal ash has not. And on page 32, wet coal ash is brought into the definition of solid waste. On the bottom of page 32 are two moratoriums. One is the use of coal combustion products for certain structural fills and that would be prohibited generally until August 1, 2015. There are some significant exceptions to structural fill projects. If you look at Section 4B, projects where structural fill is used with a base liner, lead shake collection system, CAP liner, ground water monitoring system and where the constructor or operator establishes financial assurance as required in this bill, those projects would be exempt from the moratorium, as would structural fill as the base or sub-base of a concrete or asphalt paved road constructed under the authority of a public entity. So, under Section 4C, again, for the projects and beneficial use that is allowed under the bill...
they are both directed to the forwarding compliance with the new provisions under this bill and then existing rules that may be applicable. The details of the study that would be required while the moratorium was under way are under section 4d. Deener[?] and the EMC would be tasked with reviewing the newly enacted regulations for large structural fill projects as well as the rules under the administrative code and generally review the regulations under both to ascertain whether these are sufficient to protect public health, safety welfare, the environment and natural resources. Also they would be looking at evaluating additional opportunities for the use of coal combustion products, the structural fill and other beneficial uses, to reduce the amount of coal ash that is being disposed of in impoundments or, after the effective date of this bill, to landfills. They would also be looking at monitoring any activity by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as Mr. Hudson noted. There is rulemaking that is under way and expected to be finally adopted in December of this year and they would jointly report to the ERC no later than January 5th, 2015 on their finding and recommendations. Section 4e would require all electric generating facilities that produce coal combustion residuals and coal combustion products to issue a request for proposals on or before December 31st, 2014 for the conduct of a market analysis for the concrete industry and other industries that might beneficially use coal combustion products. Also to study the feasibility and advisability of installation of technology to convert existing and newly generated coal combustion residuals to commercial-grade coal combustion products that are suitable for use in the concrete industry and other industries. Also to examine all innovative technologies that might be applied to diminish, recycle, or reuse or mitigate the impact of existing and newly generated coal combustion residuals. Section 5a is another moratorium. That would be a moratorium on construction of new or expansion of existing combustion residual landfills and those landfills are currently designated as, defined as combustion products landfills under current law but the title would change under this PCS to combustion residual landfills. These are the landfills that were authorized in 2007. They are landfills with liners that sit atop old impoundments. So some people call them nested landfills or stacked but there would be a moratorium on expansion or construction of new landfills of this type until August 1st, 2015 in order to allow the department to evaluate the impoundments that underlie these landfills to determine the risk to public health, safety, welfare, and the environment and the advisability of continued operation of these landfills. Next, beginning on page 39, there are several pages that would transfer the rulemaking for solid and hazardous waste matters and this would include now coal ash management from the Commission for Public Health to the Environmental Management Commission. There are a host of conforming changes over the next few pages until the bottom of page 42 and that's when we get to a final study at the top of page 43 under section 12. The Coal Ash Management Commission would be tasked with studying whether and under what circumstances no further action or natural attenuation would be appropriate for impoundments that are classified as low priority and whether there is, they are specifically directed to consider whether there's any contact or interaction between coal combustion residuals and groundwater and surface water. Whether the area has reverted to a natural state as evidenced by the presence of wildlife and vegetation and whether no further action or natural attenuation would be protective of public health, safety and welfare, the environment, and natural resources.
the coal ash management commission would be required to report to the Environmental Review Commission no later than August, October 1st, excuse me, 2015. Section 13 would require the Department of Transportation to evaluate additional opportunities for use of coal combustion residuals and products in the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges within the state. The DOT would be required to report to the ERC no later than December 1st, 2014 and now Ms. Finnell will walk you through the final provisions of the PCS. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. If you would turn back to page 3 the first section of the bill deals with the cost recovery. This section would provide that there will be no cost recovery allowed for any unlawful discharges to the surface waters of the state, provided the discharge results in a violation of water quality standards. Section 2 of the bill provides that there will be a moratorium on costs at the cost of coal ash management and you see in 14c and 14d this creates 25 new positions in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to carry out coal ash management and it also pays for the four receipts supported positions that are created under the Coal Ash Management Commission. Finally, sections 15 and 16, our severability clause and the overall effective date of the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, staff. Members of the committee, questions, comments. Senator Apodaca are you going to wrap up the fine details on this legislation? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well I was talking to Senator Berger a moment ago and this reminded us both of a Senator Hartsell bill so I did see his hand go up, so. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It figures. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It figures. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hartsell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don't know whether that was a compliment or what, Senator Apodaca, Senator Berger, but thank you for, regardless. Let me say that I think this is a really good effort and it's as comprehensive as anything I've seen in some time, quite honestly, but of course I have some questions. Some of which are related and I haven't really had the opportunity to go through it as thoroughly as I would like but I, one, and these are going to be kind of random questions. My first one is why did you elect or choose to set up an entirely new commission to oversee? Is that so that you can, just, what is in effect a specific solid waste product as opposed to, I can understand but I'm just curious about the background for that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hartsell, the primary reason for the commission was there's been a lot of noise out there and a lot of discussion about whether or not over the years, go back to the 1950's or 60's, whether or not the regulatory oversight we've had has been adequate and our feeling was that for reasons of public confidence in the decision making that was taking place on a going forward basis that a commission of this sort would be a positive thing to make sure that, not only are we solving the problem, but we're also doing it in a way that enhances public confidence in the decisions that are being made. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I've got some follow-ups and some related questions if I might, Mr. Chair. What do you anticipate it's relationship being, and some of this was addressed, but it's relationship to the Environmental Management Commission and to the Utilities Commission? And actually Deener, that's, some of that was addressed but who- [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hartsell, I think it probably would be better for staff to address that as to technically how the bill interacts with those various agencies. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Jeff. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The PCS itself doesn't go in to a great deal of detail on that matter although it does say that, basically, all state agencies and constituent institutions of the university system shall cooperate and provide information to the commission as it does its' work. I'd note the language that places it in the Department of Public Safety, it's division of Emergency Management, says that although it's administratively housed there it acts totally independently so I
I guess the way I would characterize this is this is an entirely independent commission, and again its job, tow main focuses, is the review of the classifications by the department and review and approval, and review and approval of the individual closure plans. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And the short answer to your question is we don’t feel they’ll have any authority over the Utilities Commission or DENR. They’ll work with DENR; I doubt they’ll do much at all with the Utilities Commission. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That really points out that my question is, does DENR, the Utilities Commission or others, do they have essentially…? Where you have a conflict in rules, which happens all the time, which one controls? Or do you just still have this ongoing fight? Or if you have any idea. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Jennifer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The Environmental Management Commission is given authority for rule-making. The Coal Ash Management Commission has no rule-making authority there. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Who then issues the 401 water quality permit? [SPEAKER CHANGES] It still would be the Environmental Management Commission in the department. Whosever purview this is now, this would not be affected by the Coal Ash Management Commission. They are again reviewing and approving the closure plans and the prioritization, they’re reviewing the new body of law that is generated or would be generated here, but they do not have permit authority under this legislation, and they don’t have rule-making authority under this legislation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] But… [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. If there in that regard, if there is a violation of the coal ash requirements, can DENR proceed to issue a water quality permit anyway? Are you able to see, that’s my…? [SPEAKER CHANGES] This bill would not change the department’s enforcement authority or permitting authority other than requiring an expedited permit process, but their authorities in that regard remain the same. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And in that regard, what’s the relationship of…? This gets fairly complex and when I don’t know the answer to something I’m just really curious. What’s the relationship of some of these designations to the Clean Water Act and their violations to the Clean Water Act we have to implement? That’s what I’m really trying to get at. Because we’re talking about the proximity of this particular waste primarily to water, and this is what I’m… Is that addressed in any particular way? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I guess I would note two things. This, as Ms. McGuiness has said, this doesn’t take any permitting authority away from the department. This is sort of a review and check, if you will, at the end of the process. Also, there are preemption provisions in the new part, so if anything that’s going on would conflict with federal law, that would be preempted. It would be preempted anyway, but the act explicitly recognizes that, so we shouldn’t have any federal issues as far as the Clean Water Act because we would be preempted on that anyway and the act explicitly recognizes that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’ve got two more areas of questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One is, is coal tar a coal combustion residual? [SPEAKER CHANGES] If you’ll give us a moment. Pull up that statute. It’s not specifically in this portion of the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And… well I guess three. Will closure plans be bonded? [SPEAKER CHANGES] There are no specific requirements for closure plans to be bonded, but one of the provisions, one of the details for a closure plan includes financial assurance that may be necessary for the closure process.
[0:00:00.0] …Your question on tar, there is no reference in the bill so it is not part of any of the define terms coal tar is not part of any of the defined terms. [SPEAKER CHANGES] But it is not coal combustion residual. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Not encoding to the definition we have or in may fall would have been one of the specific terms but it is not included. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And finally the…[Inaudible] But it’s a…And I have mentioned this to Senator Apodaca the other day, it would be I think very helpful if we developed in somewhere in this I preference the DOT would utilize some of these DOT in other states and not just so the study would create a preference in law to begin with so that they will do it I mean we have been spending three years we have the money to give ____[01:04] to state trains. So, I don’t know with DOT so it depend on that we can…I think putting some timelines on that and some requirements would be useful. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you for taking time. Senator Tucker. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman and now be recognized for series of questions that are putting Yes or No will not listed under ___[01:30]. I agree with Senator Harts that we need to require DOT use coal, they had been reluctant over the years is almost paid ___[01:44] and cost so I think it needs to be a requirement I wanna thank both of you to bringing this comprehensive bill forward and it was my pleasure to sponsor because it needs to be done after 80 years. I look at the bill and I see where it says local citizens and elected officials will be able to have input. However, this commission or this group can preamp their local ordinances and how will they give input to the process locally? [SPEAKER CHANGES] There will be public hearings what we are saying is the local government cannot take over the process of closing but there will be public hearings or public will have input. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Alright, thank you Senator and Mr. Chairman just a couple of more quickly, we are gonna use monitoring wells for water quality with that information on a ___[02:45] be disclosed to local officials if there is any contamination or any kind of issues there? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator has a reporting schedule let me refer back here. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, I believe maybe referring to the ground water monitoring program that I mentioned for the large structural fills and the broad strokes of the bills that require them to a place sufficient number of wells to give early detection or any accidences that may occur, if there were accidences that is what need to be reported to the department as they are now across industries and for the landfills. So, I don’t think for other industrial sites there is an immediate whether it’s an accidence disclosure to the public but they do report to the department of the environment and natural resources when they have a violation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, you think that’s adequate enough and I wanna just point that out, and then back to this bill really kind of dictates to get into the natural gas, electric generation or water for sure or alternative sources, my concern the other day when I looked at this was we are requiring utility to do a great deal in a timely manner it’s like never big on cleaning or clash I don’t know if this requires certification by specific contracts, by APA, the ___[04:17] and all of that the timelines are fully aggressive, if they run into some sort of issues, is there a appeal process for due to by 16 more days or 30 days or whatever for closure of these four sides and on the other side that’s available? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m not sure I don’t think we have list of procedure within the statue but we meet every year in the general assembly. So, if something came into a problem they could come to us. You bring a very good point and I would love for ___[04:56] to be totally… [0:04:59.7] [End of file…]
that's my goal. And to Duke's credit I think they would like the same thing but the problem we run into is we don't have the supply available to get us through the winter months. So we're hoping that all the parties will get together and I understand the gas folks have already started talking about getting us a larger pipeline into Western North Carolina coming up that area. And then I think there are only, what, one more that's cold, two more. But anyway, dealing with the Asheville plant we would like that. I know it's an aggressive schedule to get them shut down but I think we've got the structure in place that they can meet those lines. So, if not, that's something we could look at going forward. We're not rushing through this. We're trying to get, and I appreciate the questions 'cause we're trying to get everything in the open and get it all finalized so be happy to talk with you. Maybe an amendment or something if you'd like on that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, it just depends on what you and Senator Berger want to do. If you don't want to then that's fine I just point that out. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tucker, having been in the General Assembly for a number of years I have found that we tend to work better on deadlines and hard deadlines. It seems like things tend to move a little faster when we know we're stopping at a certain date. So I think, at least for the bill itself, it's probably better to have those hard deadline. I agree with Senator Apodaca that we're here every year and if there's some unforeseen circumstance that prevents the completion of a cleanup by one of the deadlines we have obviously we can take a look at that. I would say that while it's an aggressive and fairly, well it's an aggressive schedule that we have, it's our belief that those deadlines can be met. This is a problem that has been in place for a long period of time and it's something that I think there's, at the present time, the political will and the need for us to move forward and I think we would be doing less than we need to do if we adopted anything other than a fairly aggressive schedule. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well based on your long time here in the General Assembly and my short time here I concur that deadlines do make things happen. So I'll just, that's why I said if you wish. Mr. Chairman, that's all the questions I have. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Ford. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to say I'd like to commend the bill drafters for a comprehensive plan here. Having spent the better part of a professional career in waste management, over 18 years, and then another five years in moving structural fill[?], this bill is a very, very good start. And I believe it really helps guide and gives any owner of an impoundment the ability and several options to move this coal ash, this product. My concern was, and it was addressed with Senator Tucker, having moved millions of yards worth of structural fill[?], Senators, several things are going to come into play. One, timing distance, and then two, weather. Those are unpredictable factors. At least the weather is and I'm glad to hear you say that you would be open and that we're hear on an annual basis so if there are some issues that they can come back before the General Assembly and see if there's some flexibility. Is my understanding on that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If you want him to answer it'd take him 30 seconds or so. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Alright, follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For staff and for, either Senator Apodaca or Senator Berger, part 3, section 4e it requires an RFP for beneficial use for coal ash but my concern is is that there's no requirement of the owner to act on that beneficial use. Can you, either one of you sir, help me or get staff to make sure that I am interpreting that part 3, section 4e correctly and is there anything that we can do in legislation that would address my concern? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Ford, if you could give us the page that you're on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] 33. It's at the bottom of page 33, section 4e. [SPEAKER CHANGES] He said 4e.
Senator Ford, we would be open to any additions to that because this is one of the most important parts of this bill. We want to look at other ways, and with your expertise, you might be able to help us tone that language up a bit. But that’s what we’re after, to get alternative uses for it because as you know, we don’t have enough room in this state to get rid of all the coal ash, so we’ve got to be creative and come up with ways, so yes, we’d be more than happy. That was just our first attempt at language to incentivize that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, thank you. Last follow-up. I appreciate that openness to work with really me and really the industry. Last time we were here, industry came up with some creative solutions, and I think that if we can help tighten that language up so that the owners of this product will not only issue their RPs but really strongly be encouraged to use the beneficial alternatives, I think that will be extremely helpful to them as well as to the state. Thank you, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Walters. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair, and to Senator Berger and Senator Apodaca, thank you for this intensive and extensive bill. My question is, there’s a lot of emphasis put on the foresights and early on, but we have some sites that have already been mothballed in the state. In fact, I have one in my district, Witherspoon. It sits on the base of the Lumber River. I just don’t want us to forget those… we look at foresights and then we have these sites that are just kind of out of the way and out of sight, out of mind-type situations. Does this bill address those sites? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, is does, and one of the main functions of the new commission is to work in line with DENR and come up and rate every site. We have, what, 33 in North Carolina? To rate every site to where they are in priority so we can attack the high priority ones first, those that may be the most combustible, most dangerous, whatever how you want to phrase it, and then work our way down. But yes, that report is due by… [SPEAKER CHANGES] August 1st 2015, so all sites will need to be ranked by August 1st 2015. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All of them? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So it doesn’t matter… ranking had nothing to do with the active site, the inactive site. If it’s in danger, if it’s still a site that’s not active, you’ll still have that same priority if it needs to be? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Correct. It’ll be rated on the criteria of how dangerous it is with the groundwater and all the other factors, yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Jackson. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. My question’s similar to one of the ones that Senator Hartsell had. It’s probably for staff. It’s on the definition page, page 31. The Marshall site sits just above Mecklenburg County. It’s got hundreds of thousands of tons of coal ash, but one of the ponds in an asbestos pond, and I think Senator Hartsell’s question was whether coal tar was included in the definition, and I guess my question is whether asbestos is included in the definition, and whether this bill would apply to the asbestos pond that sits next to the Marshall site. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Give me a second. The definition of combustion products, which we’re changing in this bill to combustion residuals – and this is the current definition statute, and we also looked at the EPA’s definition under their existing rules – it’s residuals including fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, mill rejects and flue gas desulphurization residue produced by a coal fire generating unit. So that’s the universe of constituents for combustion residuals. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Can I ask a follow-up please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] On page 18 section B, right in the middle of the page, it talks about, as Senator Apodaca jut addressed, the different levels – high, medium and low – and the remediation that must take place under this bill once that assessment is made, and section B explains that for the most serious, the high, the options are that the combustion residual material, the coal ash, has to be moved to a coal ash landfill, an industrial landfill or a municipal landfill. Given those three choices…
federation of whether or not, I couldn't tell from reading it whether or not Duke would be converting future coal ash themselves or whether or not they would be contracting with third parties to do that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think the RFP leaves that open. They are able to explore any innovative technologies. So whether that concerns their internal processes where they're only generating commercial grade ash or then some after product where it's converting the ash. I think everything is on the table under that RFP. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And another question I had was have we, has Deener[?] done any studies, they probably haven't had time to but is there anything in here directing Deener to do any type of study that would tell us whether or not it would be more economical to convert the existing coal ash so that it could be purchased and recycled for other products or whether it would be more economical to do what I think the bill is mostly talking about and that is, it seems like, basically storing it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let me, let me tackle that. Senator Allran, you hit on part of the key of this bill and what we were talking about with Senator Ford. We've got to have other answers to deal with coal ash. We've got to find other uses for it instead of just storing it and that's what we really, really want to do with this bill is find alternative uses and that's, so the language in it, RFP's out, we want to hear creativity. We want to hear new ideas on what we can do with it because the plain fact is we just don't have enough room to bury it all at this point. So that's why were willing to take any suggestion on that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tucker. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just quickly follow-up to Senator Allran, Senator Apodaca, Duke has met with you and myself and several other folks. They have people who will come in and actually build facilities on their property, be able to process coal ash if Duke processes it differently and reduces the carbon content. So they've been on this for about, since 2007 or 8, looking for alternative ways. The dip in the economy, they slowed down on it, now it's come back. So there's opportunities there. I just wanted to, Senator Apodaca, if you would agree to have Dr. Warren respond to Senator Hartsell. When I first thought about a mine I thought about, "well we got a confederate mine in my community they going to come around and fill it up with coal ash." And it's really not a mine like that at all and Dr. Warren explained to me what was going on with the clay mines. I didn't know if you wanted him to explain to folks that it's about a liner and it's about a surface mine and not one deep, 2,000 feet in the ground where it can get to ground water and those kind of things. I thought that's what it was and I think that was where Senator Hartsell was going and with his explanation it eluded, I mean it erased my potential thoughts or problems I had with it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, that's up to you if you want Dr. Warren, he's over, the other side. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Where is he? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Right back there. He actually showed up. Hey Dr. Warren, would you like to comment on that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Jennifer talked about this a little bit. If you were to use a mine it would still have to follow the same recommendations. It would have to have a liner, a ?? collection system and monitoring for 20 years or greater. We're not just dumping it in the ground and leaving it, yeah, behind Senator Hartsell's house, so. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rabin. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, thank you. The plan is very complete but I keep coming back to it in a lot of these discussions and it's, first of all, as Senator Hartsell said something about enforcement for all of the rules and regulations. I don't see any sanctions in here. We might want to look through there and appropriately apply, "if you don't do that this bad thing's going to happen," as an extra incentive. And along those same lines, I happened to glance through here where they're talking about an emergency plans. Emergency plans that are written and then filed and then put in somebody's desk drawer don't do any good unless they practice them. Somebody ought to be made to practice these things to make sure they can actually execute. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have a couple of questions, Mr. Chair, and I may have, I apologize for being late but I listened on the way and in that process I may have missed something but one of my questions is one of our local industries
Byrnes uses coal for energy and then they have a wet ash pond on their industrial site. They use that pond to separate water from the ash solids and then dispose of the ash solids in their permitted sanitary landfill. What would they now be required to do differently from what they are doing today in that situation? I don’t know what they do with the water, which I guess would be another question, but what would they be required to do differently under this bill? That would be my first question, if anything. [SPEAKER CHANGE] If they were disposing of it in a sanitary landfill then they’re properly disposing of it as solid waste. I would point out that this bill and closure requirements are geared towards owners of impoundments. Owners is defined as a public utility that owns a coal combustion residual so it is focused on public utilities. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow up, thank you. Are there any other permitted discharges to groundwater that are still allowed under this bill without correction? And I know that may be a broad question but.. [SPEAKER CHANGE] No, this specifically provides for corrective action. If you have exceedances of groundwater standards but you basically apply the existing groundwater rules that are in place right now. This is very explicit in telling the department to go ahead and fully implement those rules to their full extent. [SPEAKER CHANGE] That’s even if you have a permit you still have to address any exceedances? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yes your permit would not allow you to exceed the groundwater standards that are otherwise in place. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Two more questions Mr. Chair. What is different if you could summarize for me for the sites that are ten thousand is it tons or less and a hundred thousand tons or less? Is there a simple way to describe to me what happens to those sites and how we monitor those and any potential problems with those versus, I think I understand what happens with the bigger ones, but can you give me a quick kind of compare and contrast? [SPEAKER CHANGE] I assume you’re talking about the structural fill projects and the large projects, so overage ten thousand per acre, would have leeching protection, baseliner, cap when it was finished, groundwater monitoring. The projects that fell under that trigger amount would not have those additional safeguards. The large projects would also have financial assurance, much like a landfill would have. The small projects would not, they do have existing requirements that we brought over from the administrative code as to grading and all kinds of things that have always been applicable to structural fill projects but for the larger projects some of the landfill requirements, for lack of a better term, are being brought in. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow up. How will we know what the problems are with those smaller sites? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Well they will be under a kind of general permit. The way it’s set up they are deemed permitted, I think that’s essentially how they’re functioning now. There is a direction to the department to do an inventory of the existing structural fills and report back with issues so I think there would be information coming forth to the general assembly about show the smaller sites are operating. We’ve also got the large structural fill moratorium, or when I say large the moratorium itself where everything that doesn’t’ have a leeching collection, a cap, a liner, that kind of thing will be put on moratorium so that the department and the EMC can look at the issue and make sure those existing requirement suffice. So I think that’s important that there will be a moratorium for most structural fills without enhanced safeguards until the EMC and DENR bring back information of the general assembly about how those sites are functioning and if those safeguards are accurate. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Let me touch on that Senator if I might. The moratorium is a very important fact here. It gives us time to get everything together going forward. It will not affect those that are already doing the right thing, those that are using the fill in. As I said earlier I read comments from some attorney saying that there was a problem, well there isn’t. We have the moratorium, we want to address it and go..
fully down that road and make sure we do it the right way. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just one more question on that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One more. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is the department going to be inventorying all the sites or just the ones over 10,000 or just? That's what I was interested in too. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The inventory language is on page 30. It says no later than July 1 of next year. The department shall inventory all structural fill projects with a volume of 10,000 cubic yards or more and then the department's required to update that annually so they'll be capturing new structural fill projects above that threshold and then they're supposed to determine if the projects or facilities have been constructed and operated in compliance with all the applicable rules. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, so under that threshold there will be no inventory. Do we have a way, do we have some sense that it's not going to be a big problem if they're under that threshold or is it just a economy of scale? What's the nature of that threshold? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I can't speak to whether this is exactly the appropriate threshold. I suspect that the department may say that even at this threshold it will be difficult for them to inventory all of these types of projects because these types of projects have been going in for years and I don't believe we have this kind of inventory developed. So I think even this will be difficult for them and going below this might be impossible. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions from the committee? Speaking of the department, Secretary ??, you're on deck. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator. I guess my reaction is that this is the way the system is supposed to work. I believe the Governor, in his blueprint, created what is the equivalent of a very solid foundation under the House and I think the Senate has created the nucleus of building a pretty good looking house on that foundation. I think that you have codified or potentially codified a lot of the procedures that Deener would have used anyway and I think codification of, not only those procedures, but expediting permitting for instance is a great addition to the blueprint that the Governor put out. I would, I think that some of the timelines, especially the short ones, the 30 and 60 day ones, might be a little bit tight but they're fairly minor relative to the grand scheme of things. I'm sure we can work out some of those details and I think we might have to have a little discussion about some of the issues that Senator Hartsell raised on some clarifications relative to the commission but, again, I think those are things that can be pretty easily worked out. So all in all, I think this is a very, very significant and solid step forward and we appreciate the Senate taking that step. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Now it's time for a public comment. We had two speakers to sign up. Mary Asbill from the SELC. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator Brock, again for the opportunity to speak to this committee. I'm Mary Maclean Asbill from the Southern Environmental Law Center and, again, I want to thank the Senators for addressing this important issue and thanks to legislative staff for all this work. I thank the Senate for mandating full cleanup of these four sites. That's really important and builds on that foundation laid out by our Governor. However, we hope to work with the Senate and the House to strengthen this bill and move it towards complying with the intent of the strong statements issued throughout this spring by Senate leadership and right now there are some areas that need work. The bill does not require full and appropriate cleanup at ten of the fourteen sites in this state. Those ten sites are also dangerous and polluting. Nor does this bill contain specific standards for which sites would be deemed a low priority and thus be allowed to have only de-watering or, in other words, just draining the polluted water off the top of the ponds and capping in place. In other words covered with a tarp or dirt. Or even in some instances, according to this bill, allowed to remain in their current conditions. This will not resolve the groundwater contamination problems. Further, the bill creates an appointed commission. There's been a lot of discussion about that and that commission, under this bill, has the authority to disapprove a coal
… closure plan just on the basis of that it is too costly to the utility, so I think that area needs some work. The bill allows DENR to give Duke a permit to operate leaking waste treatment ponds. This is a step back from current state law and violates the Clean Water Act. These unpermitted seeps should not be allowed to just be folded into a permit. We appreciate the moratorium on structural fill, but the bill does seem to move quickly to allow up to ten thousand tons of coal ash per acre, or a hundred thousand tons total in unlined dumps, and call that structural fill. That is more than twice the amount that spilled into the Dan River in February. Again, we are pleased that you are taking so much time, referring this to so many committees. Senator Apodaca said ya’ll aren’t going to rush this. We’re thankful for that and we look forward to some improvements in the bill. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mary. Next up, from NC Warn, Nicholas Wood. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you to everyone here assembled at the North Carolina Senate for allowing me this opportunity to talk on behalf of NC Warn. My name is Nicholas Wood. I am organizing director with NC Warn, a Durham-based nonprofit that’s been doing utility watchdog work for many years, which stands for Waste Awareness and Reduction Network. At NC Warn, we see this bill as a burn the public bill written by Duke Energy lobbyists. It provides minimal cleanup to all of the ash dumps and all of the hazardous waste that is poisoning the people throughout North Carolina and will continue to do so in the future. This bill allows for the maximum continued abuse of the Duke Energy monopoly’s rate payers and the millions of North Carolinians impacted and potentially impacted by this toxic waste. It appears that some of these sites, at least four, are being taken seriously, and we would argue that each of these sites which is hurting North Carolinians and has been building up, teeming literally for generations, that this just does not go far enough. It also leaves the public at the mercy of agencies that have demonstrably failed to look out for us over the years. This is a nonpartisan issue. The Department of Energy and Natural Resources, which has currently been subpoenaed and under whose oversight this was allowed to happen in the first place, along with the question of who pays being kicked down the road to the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which has granted serial rate hikes to the monopoly over the last three or four years, and nothing they have done indicates that they look out for the North Carolina rate payers. There’s also a politically-appointed commission that’s very under what their powers will or will not be, and we want you to consider this because it’s not right that we pay for this. The shareholders that profited off this recklessness for years and the people of North Carolina deserve better from ya’ll, so thank you so much and I encourage the continued thought. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Any other comments? Yes, we’ll meet tomorrow. [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, Senator Apodaca, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I‘d like to thank everyone today, especially the members and the folks that spoke. This is the beginning, as we said, and we’re going forward, and I think we got off to a great start today. We had some good conversation, and I appreciate hearing your ideas tomorrow as we make this even a better bill. Thanks. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Our normal time will be 11 o’clock tomorrow. If there’s a change, just check your email. If that’s it, we’re adjourned.