North Carolina Coal Ash Oversight Commission Disbanded
The committee created to oversee the shutdown of Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds has been disbanded. The abrupt closing comes at the same time public hearings are beginning to evaluate the risk coal ash poses to communities.
The North Carolina Coal Ash Management Commission was formed just months after an ash spill into the Dan River, amid public and legislative distrust of Duke Energy and state regulators.
The nine-member commission was intended to ensure the process of closing Duke’s 32 ash ponds was done professionally.
The News and Observer reports that the committee’s executive director, Natalie Birdwell, has been informed by Gov. Pat McCrory's office that the commission “was no longer a legal entity.”
The state's Department of Environmental Quality is holding public hearings this month on proposed risk classifications that will determine how and when ponds are closed.
The governor’s office has not responded to requests for comment.