RALEIGH, N.C.--The order was issued because comprehensive legislation has not been passed during the Short Session, a news release states. The Executive Order moves North Carolina forward on several fronts to tackle the coal ash problem.
"I issued this Executive Order to ensure that we don't lose any more time in attacking this longstanding problem," said Governor McCrory. "While we are moving forward through this order, it is not a substitute for comprehensive legislation, and numerous issues need to be addressed," continued McCrory.
Executive Order 62 directs the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to continue to implement all regulations and laws. As a result, DENR will:
Begin groundwater assessments of coal ash ponds at all 14 of Duke Energy's facilities. These assessments are the first step toward closure of the ash ponds. Take steps necessary to authorize the dewatering ponds at four priority facilities – Riverbend, Asheville, Sutton and Dan River. Hire additional staff resources to handle the increased workload of the items above.
Governor McCrory stressed that this is not a substitute for comprehensive legislation. He would like to see the following issues addressed:
- Loopholes signed into law by previous administrations dealing with dam safety need to be closed.
- Loopholes signed into law by previous administrations dealing with structural fills need to be closed.
- Tightening of notification deadlines in emergency situations.
- Flexibility to allow for the beneficial reuse or disposition of coal ash that new technologies may provide.
Click on Executive Order 62 to see full document
The NC Conservation Network said this about the executive order:
"The governor's executive order does not do what he says it does. In fact, it doesn't seem to compel DENR to do anything more than the law already requires," said Donna Lisenby, global coal campaign coordinate for Waterkeeper Alliance. "Issuing this on a Friday afternoon, and implying it's a major step to protect North Carolina's waterways is totally misleading."