AN ACT TO (1) REQUIRE A COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS IMPOUNDMENT OWNER TO PROVIDE PERMANENT ALTERNATIVE WATER SUPPLIES FOR RESIDENTS IN AREAS SURROUNDING COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (2) REPEAL STATUTORY PROVISIONS RELATED TO THE COAL ASH MANAGEMENT COMMISSION; (3) MODIFY THE CLOSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS UNDER THE COAL ASH MANAGEMENT ACT OF 2014; AND (4) MODIFY APPOINTMENTS TO THE MINING COMMISSION AND THE OIL AND GAS COMMISSION. Enacted July 14, 2016. Effective July 14, 2016, except as otherwise provided.
Summary date: Jul 20 2016 - View summary
Senate amendment make the following changes to the 2nd edition.
Amends proposed GS 130A-309.216(a) and (b), which specify and provide procedures, timelines, and requirements for the closure of coal ash impoundments by way of processing specified tons of ash annually for use in cementitious products, to require an impoundment owner to use commercially reasonable efforts to produce 300,000 tons of ash to specifications appropriate for cementitious products from each project.
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the first edition.
Amends the act's short and long titles.
Deletes all of the provisions from the previous edition and replaces it with the following.
Amends the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014 (Act) found in GS 130A, Article 9, Part 2I, as provided. Repeals the Coal Ash Management Commission, as created in GS 130A-309.202. Amends GS 130A-309.201, the definitions section of the Act, making conforming changes and deleting the term and definition Commission as well as making other conforming changes throughout the remainder of the Act reflecting the abolition of the Coal Ash Commission, including transferring all responsibilities throughout the Act to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Enacts new subsection GS 130A-309.211(c1) to require owners of coal combustion residuals surface impoundments (coal ash impoundments) to establish permanent replacement water supplies for households with drinking water supply wells located within certain distances and areas surrounding coal ash impoundments as specified. Requires this permanent replacement of water supply to be established no later than October 15, 2018. Sets out procedures for approval of those permanent water supplies, with preference given to connection to a public water supply. Gives DEQ authority to determine if connection to a permanent water supply is appropriate or cost prohibitive. Provides for installation of a filtration system if a public connection is deemed too costly. Requires owners of coal ash impoundments to submit details of proposed permanent replacement water supplies by December 15, 2016. Sets out other dates and deadlines for coal ash impoundment owners to meet in regards to replacement water supplies, including a possible one year extension.
Amends GS 130A-309.213 concerning the prioritization of coal ash impoundments and the development of proposed classifications, deleting the nine specified factors that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) must evaluate in determining the proposed risk of each coal ash impoundment, instead requiring DEQ to evaluate any other information deemed relevant. Amends subsection (b) to provide that any classifications previously issued by DEQ would be considered preliminary (previously, were to be considered final), as the risk-criteria used to establish such classifications have been repealed as noted above. Deletes subsection (c), which included provisions detailing the timeline for DEQ to issue proposed classifications for coal ash impoundments. Enacts new subsection (d) requiring DEQ to issue final classifications within 30 days after the deadline for providing a permanent water supply.
Specifies guidelines for determining the classifications, providing that a coal ash impoundment is low-risk if (1) the owner has established permanent water supplies as required and (2) the owner has rectified any identified deficiencies pursuant to any dam safety order or inspection. Sets out requirements and procedures to provide for annual inspections of each dam associated with coal ash impoundments and for compliance of any dam orders in cases where issues of safety, repair, and operating conditions arise. Provides that coal ash impoundments that do not meet these criteria are to be classified intermediate-risk. Specifies that these classifications can be appealed pursuant to the administrative hearing provisions in the Administrative Procedure Act.
Amends GS 130A-309.214 concerning the closure of coal ash impoundments, providing that proposed closure plans for low- and intermediate-risk coal ash impoundments must be submitted as specified by December 31, 2019 (previously required such plans to be submitted by December 31, 2018). Amends the closure options for the two different classifications, providing that intermediate risk impoundments can be closed pursuant to the provisions of newly enacted GS 130A-309.216, which allows for closure of coal ash impoundments through ash beneficiation projects. Provides that for low-risk coal ash impoundments, in addition to the previously established options for closure, possible closure options include compliance with closure requirements promulgated by the US EPA pursuant to 40 CFR Parts 257 and 261, Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System; Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities. Further provides that DEQ elects the closure method for low-risk coal ash impoundments.
Amends GS 130A-309.215 concerning variance authority surrounding the management of coal ash impoundments, providing that the Secretary of DEQ has the authority to grant a variance for deadlines under the Act, on the Secretary's own motion or by request of an impoundment owner, if compliance with the deadline cannot be achieved by application of best available technology found to be economically reasonable at the time and as such would produce serious hardship without equal or greater benefits to the public (previously, variance authority was given to the Commission). Sets out procedure for a coal ash impoundment variance request, including requiring the request be submitted no earlier than one year before the applicable deadline (was, two years). Also sets out process for including the public in the proposed variance process, included taking public input. Deletes subsection that prohibited a variance from extending a deadline for closure of a coal ash impoundment for more than three years beyond the date applicable as provided in GS 130A-309.214, provisions for closure.
Enacts new GS 130A-309.216, Ash beneficiation projects (projects), which specifies and provides procedures, timelines, and requirements for the closure of coal ash impoundments by way of processing specified tons of ash annually for use in cementitious products. Requires impoundment owners to identify impoundments suitable for processing for such projects on or before January 1, 2017, and enter into binding agreements related to the projects. Provides for expediting all necessary permits and approvals required for such projects. Specifies that notwithstanding any deadline for closure, any coal ash impoundment classified as low or intermediate risk located at a site where a project is installed and processing at least 300,000 tons of ash annually must be closed no later than December 31, 2029.
Amends GS 62-302.1 concerning regulatory fees for coal ash impoundments, lowering the fee imposed on public utilities with coal ash impoundments to 0.022% (was, 0.03%), now paid to the DEQ and placed in a special fund to be used 100% by the DEQ for the oversight of coal ash impoundments. Makes conforming changes.
Specifies certain coal ash impoundments as intermediate risk, notwithstanding provisions and requirements for prioritization and closure, including the coal ash impoundments located in Wayne County, Chatham County, and New Hanover County as specified. Further provides that these coal ash impoundments are to be closed as soon as practicable but no later than August 1, 2028. Sets out the process and procedure for closure for these impoundments, requiring certain impoundments to be dewatered and then removed and transferred for either disposal or for use in a structural fill as specified. Requires groundwater restoration actions where groundwater quality has been degraded as a result of the coal ash impoundment.
Appropriates $450,000 to the State Water Infrastructure Authority from the Coal Combustion Residuals Management Fund to provide for grants to local governments operating public water supplies in areas surrounding coal ash impoundments as may be needed to facilitate the establishment of permanent water supplies to the specified households.
Repeals Section 3(e) and 4(e) of SL 2014-122, making conforming changes concerning terms of the Commission members and other various responsibilities of the Commission to reflect the repeal of the Commission.
Amends GS 143B-291 in order to modify the appointments to the Mining Commission. Provides that the membership terms of each appointed member will be reduced from six years to four years. Sets out staggered terms and expiration of terms for the initial appointments. Specifies other procedures, such as the process for filling vacancies. Requires that DEQ provide staff support for the Commission. Provides that the Governor's initial appointments do not require confirmation by the General Assembly.
Amends GS 143B-293.2 in order to modify appointments to the NC Oil and Gas Commission. Sets out the appointment process. Provides that the terms of each member will be increased from three years to four years. Sets out staggered terms and expiration of terms for the initial appointments. Specifies other procedures, such as the process for filling vacancies. Provides that staff will be provided from the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources and the NC Geological Survey. Provides that the Governor's initial appointments do not require confirmation by the General Assembly. Clarifies that the administrative rules as specified in 15A NCAC 05H (Oil and Gas Conservation Rules) remain effective until the Oil and Gas Commission, as provided and established for above, amends or repeals the rules.
Includes a severability clause.
Provides that the requirements for the establishment of a permanent alternative water supply as provided for in Section 1 apply only to households with drinking water supply wells in existence when the act goes into effect.
Summary date: Apr 13 2015 - View summary
Directs the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to do both of the following when implementing the Falls Lake Nutrient Management Strategy: (1) examine the results of the Jordan Lake Nutrient Mitigation Demonstration Project, within the specified timeline, to determine if similar technology in Falls Lake could reduce or prevent excessive nutrient loading and (2) consult with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency no later than October 1, 2015, to determine if all of the components of the Falls Lake Nutrient Management Strategy are necessary to comply with federal water quality requirements for Falls Lake and if any alternative strategies could be employed in order to comply with federal water quality requirements and report to the Environmental Review Commission by January 1, 2016, on the results of the consultation between DENR and EMC.