Bill Summary for H 1226 (2013-2014)

Summary date: 

May 28 2014

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
House Bill 1226 (Public) Filed Tuesday, May 27, 2014
AN ACT TO (1) PROHIBIT RECOVERY OF COSTS RELATED TO THE MANAGEMENT OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS AND UNLAWFUL DISCHARGES FROM COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (2) PROHIBIT CONSTRUCTION OF NEW OR EXPANSION OF EXISTING COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2014; (3) PROHIBIT THE DISPOSAL OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS GENERATED AFTER AUGUST 1, 2014, INTO COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS AND REQUIRE THAT COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS GENERATED AFTER THAT DATE BE DISPOSED OF IN SANITARY LANDFILLS OR PUT TO BENEFICIAL USE AS ALLOWED BY LAW; (4) REQUIRE A SURVEY OF DRINKING WATER SUPPLY WELLS AND REPLACEMENT OF CONTAMINATED WATER SUPPLIES; (5) REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO, AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE BUT NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 1, 2014, PRIORITIZE FOR THE PURPOSE OF CLOSURE AND REMEDIATION COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS, INCLUDING ACTIVE AND RETIRED SITES, BASED ON THESE SITES' RISKS TO PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELFARE; THE ENVIRONMENT; AND NATURAL RESOURCES; (6) ESTABLISH A SCHEDULE FOR CLOSURE AND REMEDIATION OF ALL IMPOUNDMENTS BASED UPON THE DEPARTMENT'S RISK ASSESSMENT OF THESE SITES AND ESTABLISH BASELINE CLOSURE REQUIREMENTS; (7) REQUIRE CLOSURE AND REMEDIATION OF CERTAIN COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE BUT NO LATER THAN JANUARY 1, 2017; (8) PROVIDE FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF FEDERAL PREEMPTION; (9) REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO REPORT QUARTERLY ON ITS OPERATIONS, ACTIVITIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROGRESS WITH RESPECT TO ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THIS ACT FOR COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (10) PLACE A TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON THE USE OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS AS STRUCTURAL FILL AND DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE COMMISSION FOR PUBIC HEALTH TO STUDY THE ADEQUACY OF CURRENT LAWS GOVERNING USE OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS FOR STRUCTURAL FILL AND OTHER BENEFICIAL USES; (11) PLACE A TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON THE DISPOSAL OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS INTO COMBUSTION PRODUCTS LANDFILLS AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF SUCH LANDFILLS UNTIL AUGUST 1, 2015, AND DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO ASSESS THE RISKS TO PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELFARE; THE ENVIRONMENT; AND NATURAL RESOURCES, OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS LOCATED BENEATH THESE LANDFILLS TO DETERMINE THE ADVISABILITY OF CONTINUED OPERATION OF THESE LANDFILLS; (12) STRENGTHEN THE REPORTING AND NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO DISCHARGES OF WASTEWATER TO WATERS OF THE STATE; (13) REQUIRE DEVELOPMENT OF EMERGENCY ACTION PLANS FOR HIGH AND INTERMEDIATE HAZARD DAMS AND AMEND OTHER DAM SAFETY LAW REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (14) REPEAL COMPLIANCE BOUNDARY AMENDMENTS; AND (15) PROVIDE RESOURCES FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS ACT.
Intro. by Harrison, Fisher, Glazier, Luebke.

View: All Summaries for BillTracking:

Bill summary

Part I.

Amends Article 7 of GS Chapter 62, Public Utilities Act, enacting new GS 62-133.13 to provide for the recovery of costs related to the management of coal combustion residuals surface impoundments to surface waters in North Carolina. Defines the phrase coal combustion residuals surface impoundments to have the same meaning as in GS 130A-290 (appears to mean as in GS 130A-309.201 as enacted in this act). Provides that for the purposes of this section, costs related to unlawful discharges to the surface waters of the state include any corrective actions required of the electric public utility under state or federal law. Prohibits the North Carolina Utilities Commission (Commission) from allowing an electric public utility to recover any of the following costs incurred on or after January 1, 2014, from the retail electric customers of the state: (1) costs related to the management of coal combustion residuals disposed of in coal combustion residuals surface impoundments, including costs associated with complying with the provisions of Part 2I. Coal Ash Management (added in this act) of Article 9 of GS Chapter 130A and (2) costs related to an unlawful discharge from a coal combustion residuals surface impoundment to the state’s surface waters, unless the Commission determines the discharge was due to an event of force majeure (any natural and unavoidable catastrophe, or force of nature).

Part II.

Amends Article 9 of GS Chapter 130A by adding a new Part 2I, Coal Ash Management Act of 2014. Provides that unless a different meaning is required by the context, the definitions in GS 130A-290 and the following definitions apply throughout this Part: (1) beneficial and beneficial use, (2) coal combustion residuals surface impoundment, (3) structural fill, and (4) receptor.

Part 21 prohibits (1) the construction of new and (2) the expansion of existing coal combustion residuals surface impoundments on or after July 1, 2014. Also prohibits, on or after August 1, 2014, the disposal of coal combustion residuals into a coal combustion residuals surface impoundment. Requires that coal combustion residuals generated on or after August 1, 2014, must be either (1) disposed of in a sanitary landfill properly permitted under this Article and the rules adopted under it or (2) put to  beneficial use in compliance with the requirements of 15A NCAC 13B.1700 and other applicable rules.

Requires the owner of a coal combustion residuals surface impoundment to conduct, no later than October 1, 2014, a Drinking Water Supply Well Survey (Well Survey) that identifies all drinking water supply wells within one-half mile from the established compliance boundary of the impoundment. Directs that the Well Survey be submitted to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Authorizes DENR to determine based on the Well Survey and no later than December 1, 2014, which drinking water supply wells the owner must sample, how frequently the samples must be taken, and for what time period the sampling must be done. Provides actions that may be taken by DENR and requirements that DENR may impose on the owners based on the sampling and water quality analysis results.

Directs DENR, as soon as is practical but no later than December 1, 2014, to work in coordination with other appropriate agencies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prioritize coal combustion residual surface impoundments, including active and retired sites, based on the need for closure or remediation of the impoundments. Directs DENR to assess the risk of these sites to public health, safety, and welfare; the environment; and natural resources, and requires DENR to determine a schedule for closure and required remediation based on the degree of risk from these sites. Authorizes DENR to request other information from the owner or operator of an impoundment which DENR deems relevant, and specifies factors that, at minimum, DENR should consider.

Directs DENR to issue a proposed classification for each impoundment based upon the assessment conducted under subsection (a) of this section, classifying the impoundments as low-risk, intermediate-risk, or high-risk. Requires the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (Secretary) to issue a written declaration that includes findings of fact and documents the proposed classification within 30 days after a proposed classification has been issued. Requires that the Secretary make copies of the written declaration issued under this section available for inspection and specifies that copies should be provided to the local health director, posted on DENR’s web site, and placed at the local public library and other locations to ensure accessibility to the public.

Provides that before a final classification of an impoundment is issued, the Secretary must give notice of the intent to issue the written declaration. Specifies time frame for posting notice and guidelines governing the posting of notice via differing mediums. Requires the Secretary to hold a public meeting to explain the written declaration to the public no later than 30 days after the issuance of the written declaration. Provides that the public meeting is to be held in the county or counties in which the site is located. Also specifies timelines to allow receipt of written comment on the declaration.

Provides detailed criteria governing the method of closure to be utilized for closing a coal combustion residual surface impoundment. Also presents a schedule of closure for impoundments classified under new GS 130A-309.204: (1) high-risk impoundments are to be closed as soon as feasible but no later than August 1, 2019; (2) intermediate-risk impoundments are to be closed as soon as feasible but no later than August 1, 2024; and (3) low-risk impoundments are to be closed as soon as feasible but no later than August 1, 2029.

Requires the Secretary to submit a preliminary inspection and evaluation report to the Environmental Review Commission (ERC) no later than October 1, 2014, and a final inspection and evaluation report to the ERC no later than January 1, 2015. Specifies that the inspection and evaluation report must include (1) a detailed description of each impoundment, (2) findings from inspections and evaluations to ascertain compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, and (3) findings from inspections and evaluations of all infrastructure related to each impoundment to ensure that the infrastructure is in good repair and functioning properly. Directs the Secretary to submit quarterly written reports to the ERC on DENR’s operations, activities, programs, and progress made with respect to its obligations under this Part concerning all impoundments. Provides additional specifications as to the required content of these quarterly reports. Directs DENR to supplement the written reports required by this subsection with additional written and oral reports as may be requested by the ERC. Directs DENR to submit the required written reports whether or not the General Assembly is in session at the time the report is due. Additionally requires DENR to report, on or before October 1 of each year, to each member of the General Assembly who has a coal combustion residuals surface impoundment in the member’s district. Specifies the report is to contain the location of the impoundment, the amount of coal combustion residuals known or believed to be located in the impoundment, the last action taken at the impoundment, and the date of that last action. The first reports are due October 1, 2014.

Despite the new statutes, classifies the following coal combustion residuals surface impoundments as high-risk and requires that they be closed as soon as practicable, but no later than January 1, 2017: (1) impoundments located at the Dan River Steam Station, operated by Duke Energy Carolinas, located in Rockingham County; (2) impoundments located at the Riverbend Steam Station, operated by Duke Energy Carolinas, located in Gaston County; (3) impoundments located at the Asheville Steam Electric Generating Plant, operated by Duke Energy Progress, located in Buncombe County; and (4) impoundments located at the Sutton Plant, operated by Duke Energy Carolinas, located in New Hanover County. Requires that these impoundments be dewatered and that the owner remove all coal combustion residuals from the impoundment, return the former impoundment to a nonerosive and stable condition, and dispose of the coal combustion residuals in a municipal solid waste landfill located on the same property as the impoundment. Requires municipal solid waste landfills that receive coal combustion residuals to include a bottom liner system consisting of three components, as specified in the act.

Amends GS 130A-290 by replacing the term combustion products with coal combustion residuals and the term combustion products landfill with coal combustion residuals landfill. Amends the term "open dump" to mean any facility or site where solid waste is disposed of that is not a sanitary landfill and that is not a coal combustion residuals surface impoundment or a facility for the disposal of hazardous waste. Amends the term "solid waste" to add that the term includes coal combustion residuals. 

Part III.

Prohibits the use of coal combustion residuals as structural fill in order to give DENR, the Commission for Public Health (Commission), and the General Assembly time to review and evaluate the use of residuals as structural fill. Requires DENR and the Commission to review 15A NCAC 13B .1701 et seq. Specifies the actions that must be taken in conducting the review, including reviewing the use of the residuals as structural fill or for other beneficial uses and the related regulations of those uses to determine if the rules are sufficient to protect public health, safety, and welfare; the environment; and natural resources. Requires a report to the Environmental Review Commission by January 15, 2015. Applies to the use of coal combustion residuals as structural fill for projects for which construction has not begun or for which the use of coal combustion residuals as structural fill has not been permitted on or before the date that the act becomes law.

Establishes a moratorium on (1) disposal of combustion products or coal combustion residuals in a combustion products landfill or coal combustion residuals landfill and (2) construction of new or expansion of existing combustion products landfills. Requires DENR to evaluate each combustion products landfill currently operating in the state and assess specified types of risk to determine the advisability of continued operation. Requires a report to the Environmental Review Commission by January 15, 2015. These provisions expire August 1, 2015. 

Amends Section 9(b) of SL 2007-550 to remove the exemption from the more stringent permitting requirements of GS 130A-295.6 for a permit for a sanitary landfill used only to dispose of waste from a coal-fired generating unit owned or operated by an investor-owned utility.

Part IV.

Amends GS 143-215.1C to add the requirement that the owner or operator of any wastewater collection or treatment works for which a permit is issued report a discharge of 1,000 gallons or more of untreated wastewater or wastewater containing coal combustion residuals or a discharge of any amount of untreated wastewater or wastewater containing residuals to the surface waters to DENR as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after first knowledge of the spill. Also shortens the time within which a press release must be issued to 24 hours (was, 48 hours) after first knowledge of the discharge of untreated wastewater or untreated waste to surface waters. Adds the requirement of publishing a notice in the newspaper of the county immediately downstream from the point of discharge for any discharge of 15,000 gallons or more of untreated wastewater or untreated waste to surface waters. Also makes the notice requirements applicable to all of the specified owners or operators of wastewater collection or treatment works, not just those to which a permit has been issued under Part 1 (Organization and Powers Generally; Control of Pollution) of Article 21.

Part V. 

Amends GS 143-215.27 to require notification when emergency dam repairs are needed as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after first knowledge of the need for the emergency repairs. 

Amends GS 143-215.31 to add the requirement that the owner of a dam classified as a high-hazard dam or intermediate-hazard dam develop an Emergency Action Plan (Plan) for the dam. Requires that the Plan be submitted within 90 days of the classification to DENR and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for approval. Specifies items that must be included in the Plan. Requires that the Plan be updated annually and submitted to DENR and DPS for approval within one year of the prior approval. Requires that copies of the plan be submitted to regional offices and to local emergency management agencies that might respond to an emergency at the dam. Requires information in the Plan that constitutes sensitive public security information to be maintained as confidential information. 

Repeals Section 3(b) of SL 2009-390, which deemed impoundments or other facilities that were in use on the effective date of this section in connection with nonnuclear electric generating facilities under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Utilities Commission and that had been exempted under GS 143-215.25A(4) prior to amendment by Section 3(a) of this act to have received all of the necessary approvals and not be required to submit materials in connection with the continued normal operation and maintenance of those facilities.

Amends GS 143-215.32 to require the inspection of coal combustion residual surface impoundments, including annual inspections of each dam associated with an impoundment and weekly inspection by the owner of a impoundment to detect specified conditions. If the conditions are observed, requires the owner to document the condition and a registered professional engineer to investigate and develop a plan of corrective action. Requires an impoundment owner to provide for the annual inspection of the impoundment by an independent registered professional engineer.

Repeals Section 46 of SL 2013-413 (Clarify requirements for compliance boundaries with respect to groundwater quality standards).

Appropriates $1.75 million for 2013-14 from the General Fund to DENR to establish 19 positions to implement the act. 

Part VIII.

Includes a severability clause.

© 2021 School of Government The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This work is copyrighted and subject to "fair use" as permitted by federal copyright law. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the express written permission of the publisher. Distribution by third parties is prohibited. Prohibited distribution includes, but is not limited to, posting, e-mailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, installing on intranets or servers, and redistributing via a computer network or in printed form. Unauthorized use or reproduction may result in legal action against the unauthorized user.

Printer-friendly: Click to view