Bill Summary for S 71 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

May 25 2016

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 71 (Public) Filed Wednesday, February 11, 2015
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) EXTEND THE PERIOD FOR PUBLIC COMMENT AND REVIEW OF PROPOSED RISK CLASSIFICATIONS FOR COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; AND (3) MODIFY APPOINTMENTS TO THE COAL ASH MANAGEMENT COMMISSION, THE MINING COMMISSION, AND THE OIL AND GAS COMMISSION, IN ACCORD WITH THE HOLDING OF MCCRORY V. BERGER.
Intro. by Lee.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

Deletes the contents of the previous edition and replaces it with 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) EXTEND THE PERIOD FOR PUBLIC COMMENT AND REVIEW OF PROPOSED RISK CLASSIFICATIONS FOR COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; AND (3) MODIFY APPOINTMENTS TO THE COAL ASH MANAGEMENT COMMISSION, THE MINING COMMISSION, AND THE OIL AND GAS COMMISSION, IN ACCORD WITH THE HOLDING OF MCCRORY V. BERGER, which contains the following. 

Includes numerous whereas clauses.

Section 1

Amends GS 130A-309.211 to require, as soon as practicable, but no later than June 1, 2017, the owner of a coal combustion residuals surface impoundment to execute a memorandum of agreement or other binding agreement with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to establish permanent replacement water supplies for each household with a drinking water supply well sampled and analyzed pursuant to subsection (c) of the statute. Gives preference to permanent replacement water supplies by connection to public water supplies; however, provides that if the State Water Infrastructure Authority (Authority) determines that connection to a public water supply to a particular household would be cost-prohibitive, the Authority must authorize provision of a permanent replacement water supply to that household through installation of a filtration system. Requires, by August 1, 2016, an impoundment owner to submit information on permanent replacement water supplies proposed to be provided to each household to the State Water Infrastructure Authority, including, at a minimum, specified types of information. Deems projects involving permanent replacement water supplies by connection to public water supplies as approved by the Authority for this purpose, but provides that the need for other State and local permits and approvals is not obviated by such approval. Requires the Authority, for projects involving installation of a filtration system, to evaluate information submitted by the impoundment owner to determine whether connection to a public water supply is cost-prohibitive, and render a decision to approve or disapprove the plan, including written findings of fact, no later than December 1, 2016.

This section is effective when it becomes law.

Section 2

Amends GS 130A-309.202 by removing the membership requirements for the Coal Ash Management Commission (Commission), reducing the membership from seven to nine. Requires five of the members to meet specified expertise requirements and be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. One member, who is a member of a nongovernmental conservation interest, is to be appointed by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the final member, who must be a State resident at the time of appointment is to be appointed by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Requires that the Governor transmit to the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, within four weeks of the convening of the session of the General Assembly in the year for which the terms in question are to expire, the names of the persons to be appointed by the Governor and submitted to the General Assembly for confirmation by joint resolution; if an appointment is required when the General Assembly is not in session, the member may be appointed and serve on an interim basis pending confirmation by the General Assembly. Requires that the Commission Chair be named by July 1, 2016. Amends the process for filling vacancies on the Commission. Provides that four members of the Commission, at least three of whom must be gubernatorial appointees, constitute a quorum. Provides that the Commission is to be administratively located in the Division of Emergency Management of the Department of Public Safety, the head of which is the Secretary of Public Safety, who has powers and duties as delegated to the Secretary by the Governor and conferred on the Secretary by the Constitution and laws of this State. No longer states that the Commission is to exercise all of its powers and duties independently and not be subject to the supervision, direction, or control of the Division or Department. Decreases membership terms from six to four years, with terms beginning on January 1. Establishes  overlapping terms, with initial appointments effective June 1, 2016, or as soon as feasible thereafter, and expiring on specified dates.

Amends GS 130A-309.213, Prioritization of coal combustion residuals surface impoundments, to require after receipt (was, within 30 days after receipt) of all written comment on the written declaration of the proposed classification for the coal combustion residuals surface impoundment, that DEQ submit a proposed classification for a coal combustion residuals surface impoundment to the Coal Ash Management Commission as soon as legally practicable, but no later than 10 days after all appointments have been made. Expands upon the information that the Commission must evaluate related to the proposed classification. Specifies that the Commission's written determination constitutes a final decision of the Commission for purposes of an appeal under Article 3 of GS Chapter 150B. Provides that if the Commission fails to act on a proposed classification within 120 days (was, 60 days), the classification is deemed disapproved (was, deemed approved).  Provides that if a proposed classification is deemed disapproved on the basis that a final decision, including a written determination with findings of facts, has not been issued by the Commission prior to expiration of the 120-day period, the Commission may extend the deadline for no more than 120 days if necessary for adequate review. A classification deemed disapproved as a result of the Commission's failure to act within the 120-day review period, and, if applicable, a subsequent 120-day review period resulting from an extension issued by the Commission to allow additional review, does not constitute a final decision of the Commission for purposes of an appeal under Article 3 of GS Chapter 150B.

Requires the Governor, no later than 30 days after the date this act becomes law, to transmit to the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the names of the persons nominated by the Governor for appointment to the Commission.

Requires that the Environmental Management Commission assume all powers and duties for review and approval of proposed classifications for all coal combustion residuals surface impoundments and closure plans for all coal combustion residuals surface impoundments if: (1) upon expiration of the period established for public comment, the Commission has not been appointed as provided by GS 130A-309.202(b1), as enacted by Section 2(a) of this act or (2) if at any point a court of competent jurisdiction issues a temporary or permanent order enjoining the authority, operation, or activities of the Commission appointed as provided by GS 130A-309.202(b1), as enacted by Section 2(a) of this act, or issues any other decision or order that prevents the Commission from carrying out its statutory duties.

Provides that no classification for any coal combustion residuals surface impoundment, regardless of when such classification was issued, is construed to be deemed approved or final, or implemented as such by DEQ, until the classification is approved by the (1) Coal Ash Management Commission or (2) the Environmental Management Commission, if applicable, pursuant to Section 2(d) of this Act.

Requires DEQ to: (1) extend the period for receipt of public comment on the written declarations for proposed classifications for all coal combustion residuals surface impoundments until August 1, 2016; consider any comments, information, and data received during this period, including memorandums of agreement or other binding agreements to provide permanent replacement water supplies in accordance with the requirements of GS 130A-309.211, as amended by this act, to reduce risk to public health, safety, and welfare; and incorporate any comments, information, and data necessary for issuance of a classification that accurately reflects the level of risk posed by the coal combustion residuals surface impoundment. (2) No later than September 1, 2016, submit a proposed classification for review and approval to the: (1) Coal Ash Management Commission or (2) the Environmental Management Commission, if applicable, pursuant to Section 2(d) of this Act.

Creates up to five receipt-supported positions in the Division of Emergency Management of the Department of Public Safety to carry out the duties in GS 130A-309.202. Appropriates up to $400,000 to the Coal Ash Management Commission from the Coal Combustion Residuals Management Fund cash balance on June 30, 2016. Specifies the duties of these positions. Requires the Division of Emergency Management to consult with the Chair of the Commission in hiring the staff for the Commission. Requires the Division of Emergency Management to provide support to the Commission until the staff of the Commission is hired; however, if the Environmental Management Commission assumes all powers and duties for review and approval of proposed classifications for all coal combustion residuals surface impoundments and closure plans for all coal combustion residuals surface impoundments under Section 2(d) of this act, then funds to be appropriated pursuant to this Section are appropriated to the Environmental Management Commission instead.

Section 2 is effective when it becomes law.

Section 3

Amends GS 143B-291, concerning the membership of the North Carolina Mining Commission, to make the Governor's four appointments subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. Requires that the Governor transmit to the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, within four weeks of the convening of the session of the General Assembly in the year for which the terms in question are to expire, the names of the persons to be appointed by the Governor and submitted to the General Assembly for confirmation by joint resolution; if an appointment is required when the General Assembly is not in session, the member may be appointed and serve on an interim basis pending confirmation by the General Assembly. Decreases membership terms from six to four years, with terms beginning on January 1. Establishes overlapping terms, with initial appointments effective June 1, 2016, or as soon as feasible thereafter, and expiring on specified dates. Amends the process for filling vacancies. 

Requires the Governor, no later than 30 days after the date this act becomes law, to transmit to the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the names of the persons nominated by the Governor for appointment to the Mining Commission pursuant to GS 143B-291(a1), as enacted by Section 3(a) of this act, for confirmation by the General Assembly by joint resolution. Upon failure of the Governor to submit names as provided herein by December 1, 2016, the Lieutenant Governor must make such appointments, and if such appointments made by the Lieutenant Governor occur when the General Assembly is not in session, the member may be appointed and serve on an interim basis pending confirmation by the General Assembly.

Section 3 is effective when it becomes law.

Section 4

Amends GS 143B-239.2, concerning the North Carolina Oil and Gas Commission, by making the Governor's five appointments subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. Requires that the Governor transmit to the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, within four weeks of the convening of the session of the General Assembly in the year for which the terms in question are to expire, the names of the persons to be appointed by the Governor and submitted to the General Assembly for confirmation by joint resolution; if an appointment is required when the General Assembly is not in session, the member may be appointed and serve on an interim basis pending confirmation by the General Assembly. Increases membership terms from three to four years, with terms beginning on January 1. Establishes  overlapping terms, with initial appointments effective June 1, 2016, or as soon as feasible thereafter, and expiring on specified dates. Amends the process for filling vacancies. 

Requires the Governor, no later than 30 days after the date this act becomes law, to transmit to the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives the names of the persons nominated by the Governor for appointment to the Oil and Gas Commission, for confirmation by the General Assembly by joint resolution. Provides that upon failure of the Governor to submit names as provided herein by December 1, 2016, the Lieutenant Governor must make such appointments, and if such appointments made by the Lieutenant Governor occur when the General Assembly is not in session, the member may be appointed and serve on an interim basis pending confirmation by the General Assembly.

Provides that for purposes of the rules set forth in 15A NCAC 05H (Oil and Gas Conservation Rules), modifications made to the Oil and Gas Commission under Section 4(a) of 45 this act are to be construed to have: (1) repealed authority to adopt such rules given to previously constituted commissions and (2) transferred the authority to adopt such rules to the Oil and Gas Commission as modified by Section 4(a) of this act. Rules set forth in 15A NCAC 05H (Oil and Gas Conservation Rules) are effective until the Oil and Gas Commission, as modified by Section 4(a) of this act, amends or repeals the rules.

Section 4 is effective when it becomes law.

Section 5

Includes a severability clause.

Amends the act's short and long titles.

 

 

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