We'll call the Environment Committee to order. If everyone in the back would please have a seat. I would like to introduce our Sargent at Arms today, we have Bill Bass, Charles Goodwin, Jesse Hays, B.H. Powell, David Collins, and Carl Morrello. Thank you guys for doing a good job for us. We have some pages with us today. We have Marquez Macon from Halifax County. Representative Ray, please stand up. We have Mahasia, how do I say that? Say your last name. Okay, Wake County, Becky Carney. Got your page, Becky. I couldn't say his name. Catherine Riley from Johnston County, Tom Tillis. Sam Ess from Nash County, Jeff Collins. Savon Sampson from Robison County, Charles Graham. Austin Wood from Wake County, David Lewis. Thank you all for being with us and hope you have a great time. What we're going to do today, we're going to go over the PCS, then we're going to take some amendments. We're going to vote this thing out fairly quick. They'll be no public comment today and Representative Hager moves that we have the PCS in front of us. All in favor say "Aye." All opposed say "No." The ayes have it. It's properly before us. Representative Samuelson will explain the difference between the PCS and the old bill. And I'd like to have all the amendments in by 10 after 10:00. Up to the chairs today. Thank you. Representative Samuelson, you're recognized. [Speaker Changes] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Yeah, I saw somebody else laugh when you said the old bill because that's part of my point. The only thing that's really old in all of this is the coal ash impoundments. They've been there for, in many cases, eighty plus years, and four months ago we had a spill. And what I took from that was that we are learning that the solution we had that was working for all general purposes for eighty years wasn't going to be a permanent solution and that we needed to look at a way to modify systems to deal with coal ash on a permanent basis. And so, what we're trying to do now is something that has not been done anywhere else in the country, because everybody's got these older impoundments that they're just now realizing are going to be have to be dealt with differently over a long term period. And so we are leading the way on trying to figure out how to do something that hasn't been done before. We are the first to be willing to tackle this challenge and to find a solution. And what I also want to say is we have been working with with the governor, with the Senate and I'm going to give my colleague, Chuck McGrady here, a lot of kudos. We began having hearings on coal ash all the way back during the ERC before session started and he has been working on it and working with many people throughout that time. And so while this particular PCS might be new, the issue and the concerns around it, and the ideas we've been discussing have been out there in the public for a number of months, as we've begun to discover what it is that is the nature of the problem and what are some of the options. My guess is, and a lot of us believe, that as we continue to move forward on this, we're going to find options and find solutions that are not out there right now, particularly when we talk about beneficial use. And so what we're trying to do now, is to put in place a system that will allow us to evaluate the risk, to come up logical, efficient and effective solutions that are going to move us into the next eighty years of dealing with these types of products. So what I wanted to do yesterday, we went over the version that you got from the Senate and we did that because we felt like it was important, as a foundation, to hear because we're building. People talk about, I think the governor used the idea of a blueprint, or something of that sort. Well, if you use that building analogy, they laid one part of it. The Senate put another piece on it, and we're continuing the construction and filling it in. So what I'd like to do is go quickly over the changes between this and the plan that came over from the Senate. Go over them briefly, and then, staff, if I miss any important details, or if people have questions about specific details, we will go over that. So the first change, if you look on your summary, is we extended the date for the moratorium on rate cases for costs related for impoundments from January 15, 2015 to March 1, 2017.
The reason for… the Senate had put the moratorium in there to give some breathing space on figuring out what do we need to do about rates. We decided that we needed to extend that to give more time for all the assessment, for all the cost factors that go into figuring out what this is going to be. I will say that the March 1 2017 date, I do have an amendment to move that back just to that same date that the closure plans come out, which is December 31st 2016, so it’ll go back two months, so it’s on that same date that the closure plans are put out. That way when we’re going to evaluate these sorts of things, we will have the information to figure out what kinds of issues are going to be considered. Second, we modified the Coal Ash Commission’s membership. You can look at that. It’s basically a preference item for where we wanted members to go and expertise, and I think there may be an amendment being looked at for that, but the gist of it is we want to get people who are experienced, who know something about this issue and can provide the guidance that we need because as I said before, nobody’s done this before. The third one, we move the Commission under from the Department of Emergency Management to Environment and Natural Resources. The reason we did that was because as we looked at who all the people were that were going to be working on all these things, they were pretty much all in DENR, and it just seemed to make sense that it would still be an independent commission like the Energy and Mining Commission, it would still have that independent eye, it will still have that additional expertise, but it would have a little bit closer working relationship or functional working relationship with DENR since DENR’s where most of the employees were going that we were going to have to cooperate with, and we just thought that would… If for no other reason, they might be in the same building. It just makes things a little easier. We changed the matter of the Chair of the Commission to being appointed by the Governor. The reason for this was because as we looked at how quickly things have to move, and this Chair has serious responsibilities that if we took a lot of time for the Commission to get appointed and for them all to get to know each other and then for them to all decide who they wanted to be the Chair, since it’s not just a perfunctory presiding function, it’s actually a function that’s going to have some hiring decisions and that sort of thing, we thought that needed to go ahead and be appointed and decided quickly, and decided the easiest way to do that was to have the Governor do it. The next one modifies local preemption provision. The basic on this is these are going to be statewide plans. They’re going to cross multiple jurisdictions; there needs to be consistency. We’ve done that in other areas and that’s why we put it in here. The next one’s a technical correction. We can’t have something applicable July 1 because that was yesterday, so we’re moving it out to August 1. The next one deletes the leachate collection requirement. There was an amendment that was done – I believe it was on the Senate floor – that came from DENR, well-intentioned, but it had an error in there. It requires a leachate collection system but it doesn’t require a liner, and those types of impoundments don’t have liners so you can’t have a leachate collection system, and everybody agreed it was a technical error and they just didn’t catch it, so that’s taking that out. The next one adds language for DENR to establish an alternate timeframe for submission of a groundwater assessment plan. There again, first time we’ve done this. We’re trying to make sure we are covering our bases to get it done in a professional way, and so that was put that on there. The next one’s a new one from the first PCS. It requires an impoundment owner to provide an alternate supply of potable drinking water. In the version that came over from the Senate, they said if your water is contaminated, they had 30 days to get you an alternate source of water, to which I said “Well you’re not going to be able to drink very much,” so we decided that they had to have 24 hours to get drinking water, but 30 days to establish a more permanent solution for showers, ?? drinking water and shower water, and that way we felt like you wouldn’t have someone going for 30 days without drinking water and that that was a reasonable adjustment in that part. The next one adds a variance provision for closure deadlines. This includes a public process. So the idea is here we have set deadlines because we feel like deadlines are important and they drive the process to make sure that things get done. On the other hand, nobody’s done this before and there are all kinds of moving pieces, and on a positive note, there may be some new technology that comes out that nobody knew about when they were in the process of doing this, and so we wanted to put the variance language in there so that there was a way to accommodate the unforeseen and a very new system, but also to guarantee that that has a very public process, so that it’s something that goes through a general public process and everybody knows about it. The next one is a new one from yesterday; decreases the trigger points for enhanced requirements for large
structural fill projects. The original numbers of 10,000 tons per acre or 100,000 tons per project were based on the only other state we could find that regulates this. Seriously, when we were trying to find do other states have these kind of requirements and what are their limits, we only found one and they were using 10,000 and 100,000. Some people had said they were concerned that that was too much and so we took it down to 8,000 and 80,000. There again, nobody knows what exactly the right answer is because it’s not being done and only one other state has done it. They’re doing fine with the 10,000 and the 100,000, but we thought we would go ahead and lower it to the 8,000 and 80,000 for the smaller projects. Next, what modifies the setback requirement for structural fill projects. This was also a last minute amendment on the DENR, on the Senate side, there are some tweaks to the numbers. We tweaked it from 25 feet of bedrock to 30 feet, mainly to keep it in contention so we can find out what the right answer’s supposed to be. We’re still working on that and trying to get the experts on it. The next one clarifies the dam decommissioning provision. As we begin to dewater these sites, some of them will have issues with the dams and may not be in the same position they are before, and so we needed a clarification on that whole provision of how you go about doing it. Staff can give me the specific details. I’ll admit that’s not my strongest point on that one. The next one modifies the compliance boundary provision. This one is contested, but what we’ve put in place here is what our intention was last year with compliance boundaries. The understanding was that, when you have a compliance boundary, that it was set by rule at either--depending on when you permitted and how you permitted--either 250 feet or 500 feet or the property line. What we were trying to say was we were still going to honor that 500 and 250 even if they had multiple properties. It was misinterpreted as going all the way to the property line. It was still only supposed to be the 500 and the 250 feet, so we clarified that. The second thing that we always intended was, if your exceedance is still inside the compliance boundary then you are technically okay. It’s only when it goes outside that there needs to be cleanup and that was interpreted differently for the sites that were considered non-permitted, which I’ll admit, when we did that before, we’d never heard of a non-permitted site. I thought everything had to be permitted, so this is to clarify that if your exceedance, or if your contamination, is inside the compliance boundaries you don’t have to do anything yet but the minute it hits the line or goes after it you’ve got to begin to clean it up. Now one of the differences on the ones that were deemed as non-permitted was Judge Ridgway’s decisions and, attorneys correct me if I’m wrong, the Judge Ridgway decision said you have to remove the source of the contamination, which sounds like a good idea until you start to realize these compliance boundaries apply to every municipal waste treatment facility. If you have to remove the source of the contamination you’ve got to shut down the waste treatment facility. I don’t know how many of us want our local governments, because of a compliance boundary issue, to suddenly have to shut down their waste treatment facility. The intent of this language is to say we think you need to clean it up and we think you need to keep it inside your compliance boundary, but you’re not going to have to shut down your waste treatment facility or, if you’re an industrial user, you’re not going to have to shut down your plant because you exceeded the compliance boundary. It still requires cleanup but doesn’t require the removal of the source of it for those non-permitted ones because it would be infeasible for many of our communities in North Carolina and, frankly, if it’s inside the compliance boundaries, it should be okay. I know there’ll be some debate on that one. The next one adds a requirement for DENR to study all deadlines established by the act and report its findings and recommendations to the ERC on or before December 1st, 2014. You’ve got to realize, again, nobody’s done these deadlines before. There may be very well a need for variances. We want some sort of information to help us understand what are reasonable deadlines so that, when someone comes and asks for variance or if we’re trying to establish if what we did worked, that we’ve got this study to help us figure out have we set the deadlines where they need to be set. We removed the appropriation provision simply because it’s in all of the budgets and we therefore figured it was covered.
Speaker : The last one that was clarifying technical changes if staff ?? clarifying technical changes that was don't necessarily or primarily important and then there was ?? amendment understand one amendment that we were working on ?? we want the staff to work on the committee members ?? to pt this on the floor but you have to do that with ?? beneficial use ?? have some study language to encourage ?? of beneficial use and to encourage beneficial us slow ?? sites i believe that cover on point staffs miss person or miss ??, Speaker Changes: Thank you ,Representative ?? to the bill , Speaker Changes: Representative Samuelson covered all the changes from the PCS to the version whenever yesterday so she's best Covered everything, Speaker Changes: Thank you a lot ??, Speaker Changes: Thank you Mr.Chairman two quick easy questions to the provision moving omission of the department ?? is this make the governor Representative happy or ??, Speaker Changes: Actually I don't know that was our consideration because it is the right thing to do we have to disagree with the governor staff position on this ?? other commissions that need those scenes issues and ?? so it was mainly ?? them, Speaker Changes: Follow up,hopefully ?? involved with this type of thing ? nothing in this will conclude ?? considered in this confrontation, Speaker Changes: Correct the amendment that we are running on the floor will study that and encourage more if the beneficial use, Speaker Changes: Representative Harris, Speaker Changes: Thank Mr.Chair said that a couple of questions probably before the PCS sponsor Representative Samuelson ?? these are unlined unmonitored i try to figure out why why that's better than ten thousand because to does be a problem to those exemptions i wonder what state that is they deemed to be because everything is fine about that ?? unmonitored ?? that eight versus ten or eighty versus hundred that simply a recognition that ?? let's try something that ? they did research and couldn't find any of the regulative, Speaker Changes: ?? programs and Pennsylvania i thin was one triggered ?? and i don't think we have any other states ??, Speaker Changes: And we could have ?? if he like to come in on the other party of question on other sides ??, Speaker Changes: That's not a problem Speaker Changes: Follow up, Speaker Changes: Please sir on page there is reference to corrections And page 47 sub section k, i just wonder what is the impact to that is ?? about the problematic language of removing the source of contamination is that what sections is supposed to get at, Speaker Changes: And staff let me take the first shots and hope so they month ave it my understand what this language is ? affirmative versus not affirmative ?? and we restore the ground water color that we ?? and submit the results and plan and propose schedule for corrected actions what it don't say is you have to remove the ??,
Speaker: Please I'm wondering if here the first committee provide provide some advice language on the low risk in pavements ?? in place, Speaker Changes: Where did Representative ?? goes, Speaker Changes: We have looked at the part the management she was asking think it was going to be in the amendment ? encouraged in official use and low risks and pavements ?? is what you ask ,there the concern has currently written low risk and en pavements ?? the situation will ?? we were going to leak that options so how would do that and protections in there so i will also get into that language when we have it, Speaker Changes: Thank you,Mr.Chairman ?? good questions ,who has changed from the senate versions to the PCS A?? particularly ?? you about a little bit about that and follow so i can understand it was preference issue we want to put becasue of the beneficial use ?? of people who understood about wasting management and reuse and official reuse so we have a lot of ?? on that who represented concern of larger rate payers ?? rate payers did that representation with that open it up from more beneficial use representation and waste managements, Speaker Changes: Follow up, Speaker Changes: just to comment ?? Speaker Changes: ?? i like to see those line to make sure where the ares is at the table through our collapse , Speaker Changes: We have been approached by them we understand our concern and thought about some alternative solutions a lot of about to say this but the public we need suggestion on who to make positions ?? remember that there is no one on the senate side just a resident of the state so we want this to be a high quality board when it needs to be done, Speaker Changes: Thank you, Speaker Changes: Representative ??, Speaker Changes: Thank you ,Mr.Chairman it's just a follow up on what ?? a little bit more scientific expertise on here or will be some technical questions to be answered ?? when the question came up,they can actually have some idea on what is going on what to do ?? on the board, Speaker Changes: Any other questions from the committee if not the amendment we gonna take up is ASP-828 version 1 Representative ?? you are recognize to explain the amendment, Speaker Changes: ??, Speaker Changes: Representative Luke i guarantee you like it, Speaker Changes: The like to read it before you run it , Speaker Changes: ??, Speaker Changes: This is pretty simple this encourages department of administration department of transportation look for more sage of ?? and concrete products ?? and re assist the goal that department is ?? shall be encourage the usage ?? and the respect of ?? projects, Speaker Changes: ?? if it were up to me we gotta way reuse every bit of this ??, Speaker Changes: Questions from the committee, Speaker Changes: Representative ??, Speaker Changes: Thank you, it a like the amendment my question is how much is the DOT using currently, Speaker Changes: About the 20% less than North Carolina are concrete and only small percentage of those are actually with the ,
question. We'd like to see that increase more and more, possibly more uses of concrete with coal combustion products in it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Cunningham [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, is it on? okay got it. My question, is because representative Hager has brought up about the use of the recycling of it. And I think it's good, but from my understanding the Duke coal is so toxic, that we can't use it and we're buying it out of state from other states. Is that correct? >> Mr. Chairman, that is not correct. The reason that we're using most combustion products from out of state is because most of the large ?? units of Duke have scrubbers on them. A lot of that ash is used for gypsum, it's used for gypsum used for wallboard. and almost all the plants at Duke currently has running used for gypsum, used ??? and then I'll nerd out a little bit and apologize, the use of ?? for concrete has to be less than 1% carbon. And a lot of the old plants sitting there now have a higher percentage It's gonna take a re-burn effort to do that. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Representative Harrison. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair, another question based on the ignorance for you, Rep. Hager, I appreciate the amendment. I've heard concerns from some concrete manufacturers that they're not certain that the toxins remain inert. There' s no distinction between the fly ash and the bottom ash. This or in the requirement that the department of construction,I guess, it's at the end of the bill, I meant to ask about this yesterday. Do we have some -- I guess ?? signed off on it, I was just wondered if we had some assurance that we're not just re-releasing this stuff out into the adjacent groundwater or in there. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I appreciate that, as you know Rep. Harrison, fly ash is a substitution for lime has been used for a number years. I have not read any studies yet that says that it leeches out of the concrete itself. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions from the committee? Rep. Hager moves for adoption the amendment all in favor say aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] opposed no. And the aye's have it, the amentment will be adopted. Repre-- that's all right. [SPEAKER CHANGES]They can make them, but it's what I explained earlier about changing the date from March 1, 2017 to Dec 31, 2016 and the reason for that is that it complies and agrees with the date that they have to file their closure plans and we just thought that it made sense that we have all those dates line up together. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Rep. Harris [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair, Sorry for all the questions, I appreciate this extension in the moratorium, I think that's a good revision in this bill, I actually think it makes sense to give a couple months after the submission of the closure plan to have some time to digest the legislature. Because this is a more ?? case so it just seems to make sense to let legislature digest what the closure plans have been submitted and whether we do need to extend the moratorium.[SPEAKER CHANGES] I'll respond to that. This extension of the moratorium is putting Duke in an awkward position because they're going to have to wait for a long time to even consider recouping any of the costs that they have. You will have a session before this date, if you have any concerns there will be reports coming out, regularly, but we felt like for the purpose of balancing the needs of the utility commission, to have the information they need to accurately determine what needs to go forward and balance it with the fact that this is new, nobody's done it before. that ?? ended up with the date that the closure plans was fair to everybody. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Other questions, only amendment.[SPEAKER CHANGES] Rep. Catlin [SPEAKER CHANGES] just a comment, I want to speak in support of that date change. It gives us an extra year, and at the end of that time the high priority sites we will have closure plans we will have lots of technical and cost information that will be very useful thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions from the committee? If not, Rep. Samuelson will move in adoption of the amendment. All in favor say aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] opposed no. And the aye's have it, the amendment is adopted. Okay, we're going to take up Rep. Alexander's amendment ARI213 version 7, please pass those out. Rep. Alexander is recognized to explain his amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you Mr. Chairman. The amendment would call for the state senate for health statistics to produce a --
Baseline mortality and morbidity study, that pretty much parallels the period of time that we would be monitoring, the decommissioning of coal ash and the bill as it currently is before us has a lot of monitoring that will tell us a lot about what’s happening with potential pollutants and how they get into the environment. But it doesn’t tell us very much about what the baseline is right now in the areas where the impoundments exist. And so this would allow us to develop that kind of information so we would see what the potential long term health effects might or might not be. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Samuelson, would you like to comment? [COUGH] Excuse me. Representative Hager, you’re recognized to comment on the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a question for Representative Alexander, if that’s okay. Mr. Alexander, the fee, regulatory fee in GS62-302, can you explain what that is? And I apologize I haven’t looked it up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That’s the, I think it’s 0.3% that funds the various staff positions and what-not that are required to implement the bill and that just tacks that on as the source to cover the cost of actually doing the study. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, for a comment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You’re recognized, Representative ??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Part of this worries me a little bit. It’s very ambiguous, let’s call it that. Disease type, all of it, I think this is an ambiguous study. We need to drive down more detail to exactly what we’re looking for. The fee itself worries me because we just ran a bill that I sponsored to change the fee structure for utilities commission. And they’re going to be wondering, making sure that their funds are correct for the next few years. This 0.3% that Representative Alexander’s talking about is to help fund those positions, help fund the extra cost of some of these things that we’re putting on them, with declining revenues that we ran in the bill coming up and other folks having to step up, I’m not sure at the proper time this is a right place to get these dollars and get these funds. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative McGrady. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Having no doubt that this is well intentioned, I think it from a policy perspective is a wrong decision. I’m well aware that DENR already views the resources that we’re going to allow them to have in the appropriations process as being inadequate. And if we then start pulling from the funds that are being generated through this fee and diverting them in another way, I just think that’s a mistake, and so I’d urge my colleagues to vote no on the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Starnes is recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] A question for Representative Alexander. How much money are you talking about? How much is generated, that you’re trying to use? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don’t specifically have a number but in looking at what health statistics is doing currently, we aren’t talking about a great deal of resources here. My back of the envelope estimation would be somewhere in the neighborhood of about $100,000. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Millis. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I guess my question is directed toward Representative Alexander, and I’m trying to wrap my mind around the purpose for this amendment and I just wanted to make sure I have the full understanding is that regardless of the finances of it, is that what we’re debating here today is the actual cleanup of coal ash. We’re not debating today whether we need to increase coal fire production. Therefore any type of movement, to move this coal away from our water ways and streams and rivers, is actually going to provide a positive effect. So again, I just want to make sure that we have the right perspective of what a baseline health study is aimed to do. If you can help me with that, that would be tremendous for me to actually decide how I’m going to vote on this. But I think we kind of have the perspective backwards here. We are here to actually clean up coal ash. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I agree that that’s what we want to do. But one of the things that I think it’s important that we understand is that we need to have a very good grasp of the potential health effects of what’s in place now and if our
Clean up is going to have a positive impact on health, we need to be able to prove it. One of the worst case scenarios is the old Love Canal. If you will recall, Love Canal was one of these situations that ended up being so bad that the whole place had to be shut down, a fence put around it and [COUGH] there ensued a very long debate about health effects. By running this study parallel to what we are proposing to do in cleanup, I think we can alleviate any future debate about health effects. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Samuelson. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I was going to say I actually agree with much of what Representative Millis said, that we’re already cleaning it up. And where I would disagree with your comparison to Love Canal is this is an issue that transcends many geographic and demographic regions of our state, each of which could have other reasons for changes in their mortality or morbidity rates, that have nothing to do with what’s happening at the coal ash plants. When you’re talking about Love Canal, that was a more confined area. This is all over the state. And so I think if you’re only checking baseline mortality and morbidity with no concern for all the other things demographically and geographically could influence it, you’re not getting a real picture. And so I would urge, aside from the money constraint which I also have concerns with, I would urge a no on this amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Insko. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would urge a yes vote on this amendment. I’m very familiar with the issues around hexavalent chromium health impact, and we heard yesterday that hexavalent chromium has been found in some of the spots, and so I think the issue that I’m hearing is are we cleaning up without any consideration to the impact on human life, or are we adding that component to it? And so I would think it’s our responsibility from the point of view of public health to make sure that we also consider it our responsibility to human health. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Brawley. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. While I applaud Representative Alexander’s desire to make sure people remain healthy, for this study to be relevant to what we do, it would have to last a long time, then we evaluate what actions to take. And I think the purpose of this bill today is for the time a relevant health study would be completed, we will have already gotten the coal ash either enclosed or moved away from the populations that tend to be impacted. A second thing I wanted to address, the reference has been made to Love Canal. And while that has become the poster child for the reuse of contaminated property, anyone familiar with it realizes that that was a sealed and capped landfill of hazardous chemicals, which was donated to a school board for the purpose of using for playgrounds or could build a school on it, which would be above the surface and it would have been fine. What happened the school board sold it for redevelopment. People came in and put in a zoning to build houses that included excavating basements. The chemical company spoke against the rezoning, pointing out that that would cut through the cap, and allow the chemicals that had been sealed to seep out. That is in public records from the 1950s. That advice was ignored. And yes, 30 years later people suffered from the fact that someone in government decided that you actually could put a basement in the middle of a toxic waste dump. This is not an analogous situation at all. This is actually preventing a Love Canal, not creating one. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further questions on the Alexander amendment? Representative Cunningham. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I was interested because I do like Representative Alexander’s, it gives us a baseline and like we are the first state to make such a progressive move on containing the coal ash. But additionally I believe that some of the public health departments already have some of that statistics and data, and it would be easily collected and additionally someone would just have to look at the particular sites around that area because the data is already there at the public health departments on mortality and morbidity.
?? Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other debate? If not, Representative Alexander moves adoption of the amendment. All in favor say aye, opposed no. Amendment fails. Unannounced. Is there any other amendment? Any debate on the bill as amended? Representative Harrison. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I was excited about the fact that we were finally going to be tackling coal ash and then Judge Ridgway’s decision came out in March that said that Duke needed to remove the source contamination at all of its 14 sites. It seems like, actually, the provisions in this bill don’t provide even the protection of Judge Ridgway’s decision. I’m concerned that the bill allows the continued disposal, for five and one-half years, of wet coal ash, even though we know it’s a problem now. I’m concerned about the mandate capping in place for the low-risk ponds. I appreciate the fact that Representative Samuelson said that will get fixed on the floor but, for now, the bill says that, mandates capping in place low-risk ponds, and it seems that all the other ten sites could be identified as low-risk so we might continue to perpetuate this problem of leaching contaminants into adjacent drinking water. I’m concerned that the commission gets to veto proposed closure based on costs. I don’t think there’s any cost that can, when you’re talking about public health, I don’t think any cost is too high. I’m concerned about the fact that the language on page 47, that I asked about, might be a way to get around the Ridgway decision that requires the removal of the source contamination. I'm Also concerned about the fact that this bill does not protect the rate payer so I’m afraid I’m voting no today. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further debate on the bill as amended. Representative Catlin. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Just to clarify a couple of things: the low-risk sites have to comply with a lot of different, existing DENR requirements and I’d be surprised if very many sites were classified as low-risk, so that’s one issue. The other thing, on the variance, and that’s basically schedule related because there may be permit delays, there may be opportunity for new technologies and right now to rush in and have no flexibility for schedule variance I think is not the smart thing to do, so I support the bill as it is. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative McGrady. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I, likewise, support the bill. I am quite aware of the issue that Representative Harrison raised, with respect to the low-risk sites, and that is a concern of mine. We just, frankly, weren’t capable of putting forth the amendment as quickly on this one. I do think we have a fix and I think that fix is important and I’m hoping when we get to the floor Representative Harrison that issue will come off the table. With respect to the veto based on cost, I think that’s a misreading of the bill. The bill simply allows cost to be one of the factors and, to get to the point that you’re saying that the veto based on cost, you’re basically saying that the decision maker here is going to simply rely on this one factor and not all the other factors that are set out there. You’re assuming they’re going to do the wrong thing but, even if they do the wrong thing, the public process here and the appeals process, everyone here knows that if they make a decision based on cost that thing is going to be appealed. I don’t think we’re going to need to go, I don’t think there’s a veto based on cost here. There’s been reference to the Ridgway decision. The original Senate bill had nothing to do with compliance boundaries. I argued that we needed to. It’s the only portion of the bill that is larger than the coal ash issue because there are compliance boundaries that relate to solid waste landfills and a whole range of other things. I will circulate, I don’t want to get staff in trouble, but there’s clearly a view that the Ridgway decision goes too far and, if left in place, the cost of that, particularly to municipalities, anybody that runs a solid waste landfill, could be out of sight. Yes, we are trying to address that issue. If we’ve done it inartfully I am quite open to trying
to clarify that going forward, but I think it's critical that we take care of it. Frankly, I wonder whether we need Coal Ash legislation if we don't address the issue. I will remind people I voted against the regulatory reform bill last year, in part, because of the compliance boundary issue. I'm quite sensitive to the issue, but I think we need to do it right. Finally, with respect to protecting the ?? , we're not deciding the cost issue here. It's just too big an issue for us to decide. The Senate put in place a moratorium, a moratorium that ends before the general assembly comes back is probably a mistake and so we've moved that moratorium back. So that, in fact, the general assembly that wants to have this discussion in the future is capable of doing it. I don't think we can have that discussion within the context of all the other moving parts and that's why I would say there's nothing in this bill that hurts the ?? It actually puts that decision off to next year or the year after, at a point in time where we're going to have a lot more information about this because of all the studies and all the work that will have gotten done. I would urge you to allow this bill to move forward. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other other questions or debate? Representative Hager is recognized for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hold off on that just a minute, Hager, I missed Representative Luebke. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No, I just wanted to request division on the motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] A motion you may make. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Hager is recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you , Mr. Chairman. You know, we've had this situation, we've had Coal Ash in North Carolina for almost a hundred years. There's been issues in the past. Previous administrations have refused to do anything about this and turned a blind eye to this and thought it would go away, but this administration, this legislature, this House, this Senate has decided to take action, to be teh first state in the nation to do this. Is it easy? No. Is it perfect? No. Will we have bills come forward in the future that will enhance this and go to the second, third, fourth, and fifth, stage? Yes, we will continue to see this. I think this is a great start to charting new territory for this state, and really for the nation. And with that, Mr. Chairman, I would ask for a favorable to PCS of Senate Bill 729, as amended, and an unfavorable to the original. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You've heard the motion. All in favor say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, no. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, I'd ask for a division. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Division having been called, all in favor of the Hager motion, please raise your hand. All opposed, please raise your hand. The motion passes 15 to 5. Any other business before the committee? If not, we stand adjourned. And with a referral to finance.