Bill Summary for S 729 (2013-2014)

Summary date: 

Jun 26 2014

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
Senate Bill 729 (Public) Filed Wednesday, May 14, 2014
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO (1) PROHIBIT RECOVERY OF COSTS RELATED TO UNLAWFUL DISCHARGES FROM COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (2) ESTABLISH A MORATORIUM ON CERTAIN RATE CASES; (3) CREATE THE COAL ASH MANAGEMENT COMMISSION TO REVIEW AND APPROVE COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS CLASSIFICATIONS AND CLOSURE PLANS AND OTHERWISE STUDY AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON LAWS GOVERNING MANAGEMENT OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS; (4) REQUIRE EXPEDITED REVIEW BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES OF ANY PERMIT NECESSARY TO CONDUCT ACTIVITIES REQUIRED BY THIS ACT; (5) ESTABLISH VARIOUS REPORTING REQUIREMENTS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, INCLUDING A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES ON ITS OPERATIONS, ACTIVITIES, PROGRAMS, AND PROGRESS WITH RESPECT TO ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THIS ACT FOR COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (6) PROHIBIT LOCAL GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF MANAGEMENT OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS OR COAL COMBUSTION PRODUCTS; (7) PROHIBIT CONSTRUCTION OF NEW OR EXPANSION OF EXISTING COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2014; (8) PROHIBIT THE DISPOSAL OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS INTO COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS AT COAL-FIRED GENERATING UNITS THAT ARE NO LONGER PRODUCING COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2014; (9) PROHIBIT DISPOSAL OF STORMWATER TO COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 31, 2018; (10) REQUIRE ALL ELECTRIC GENERATING FACILITIES TO CONVERT TO GENERATION OF DRY FLY ASH ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2017, AND DRY BOTTOM ASH ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2020, OR RETIRE; (11) REQUIRE THE ASSESSMENT OF GROUNDWATER AT COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (12) REQUIRE CORRECTIVE ACTION FOR THE RESTORATION OF GROUNDWATER QUALITY AT COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (13) REQUIRE A SURVEY OF DRINKING WATER SUPPLY WELLS AND REPLACEMENT OF CONTAMINATED WATER SUPPLIES; (14) REQUIRE THE IDENTIFICATION, ASSESSMENT, AND CORRECTION OF UNPERMITTED DISCHARGES FROM COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS; (15) REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO, AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE, BUT NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 31, 2015, 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; (16) REQUIRE OWNERS OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS TO SUBMIT A PROPOSED PLAN FOR CLOSURE OF ALL IMPOUNDMENTS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES; (17) REQUIRE CLOSURE AND REMEDIATION OF CERTAIN COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE, BUT NO LATER THAN AUGUST 1, 2019; (18) REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO ESTABLISH A SCHEDULE AND PROCESS FOR CLOSURE AND REMEDIATION OF ALL COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS SURFACE IMPOUNDMENTS BASED UPON THE DEPARTMENT'S RISK ASSESSMENT OF THESE SITES, BASELINE REQUIREMENTS SET BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, EVALUATION OF PROPOSED CLOSURE PLANS SUBMITTED BY IMPOUNDMENT OWNERS, AND INPUT FROM THE PUBLIC AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS; (19) ESTABLISH MINIMUM STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS FOR STRUCTURAL FILL PROJECTS USING COAL COMBUSTION PRODUCTS AND REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO INVENTORY AND INSPECT CERTAIN STRUCTURAL FILL PROJECTS; (20) PLACE A MORATORIUM ON CERTAIN PROJECTS USING COAL COMBUSTION PRODUCTS AS STRUCTURAL FILL UNTIL AUGUST 1, 2015, AND DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION TO STUDY THE ADEQUACY OF CURRENT LAW GOVERNING USE OF COAL COMBUSTION PRODUCTS AS STRUCTURAL FILL AND FOR BENEFICIAL USE; (21) PLACE A MORATORIUM ON THE EXPANSION AND CONSTRUCTION OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS 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; (22) STRENGTHEN THE REPORTING AND NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO DISCHARGES OF WASTEWATER TO WATERS OF THE STATE; (23) REQUIRE CERTAIN EMERGENCY CALLS TO BE RECORDED; (24) 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; (25) TRANSFER SOLID WASTE RULE-MAKING AUTHORITY FROM COMMISSION FOR PUBLIC HEALTH TO ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION; (26) AMEND COMPLIANCE BOUNDARY PROVISIONS; (27) PROVIDE FOR VARIOUS STUDIES; (28) REQUIRE THE STATE CONSTRUCTION OFFICE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO DEVELOP TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS FOR USE OF COAL COMBUSTION PRODUCTS; AND (29) PROVIDE RESOURCES FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS ACT.
Intro. by Apodaca, Berger.

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Bill summary

Senate amendments make the following changes to the 2nd edition.

Amendment #9 rewrites subsection (a1) to GS 143-215.1C to direct the owner or operator of any wastewater collection or treatment works, for which a permit is issued under Part IV of this act, to report to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, as soon as practicable, but no later than 24 hours (was, within 24 hours) after the owner or operator determines that a discharge of 1,000 gallons or more of untreated wastewater has reached the surface waters of the state.

Amendment #10 makes a change to the bill's long title, inserting new (26) AMEND COMPLIANCE BOUNDARY PROVISIONS, and amending the remaining provisions of the long title accordingly. Adds aPART VII. AMEND COMPLIANCE BOUNDARY PROVISIONS.Amends GS 143-215.1, subsections (i), (j), and (k) as the Part title indicates. Retains provision that a compliance boundary may be established by rule or permit and the provision that multiple contiguous properties under common ownership and permitted for use as a disposal system are to be treated as a single property with regard to determination of a compliance boundary. Makes a conforming change, repealing Section 46(b) of SL 2013-413. Directs the Environmental Management Commission to review the compliance boundary and corrective action provisions of Subchapter 2L of Title 15A of the North Carolina Administrative Code for clarity and internal consistency. Requires the Commission to report the results of its review, along with any recommendations, to the Environmental Review Commission no later than December 1, 2014.

Amendment #12 amends proposed GS 130A-309.212, which sets out the requirements for the closure of coal combustion residuals surface impoundments. Expands on the closure requirements and the content of the closure plan to be submitted by the owner of a high-risk impoundment and by the owner of a low-risk impoundment.

Amendment #14 makes a change to the qualifications for one of the appointees by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the nine-member Coal Ash Management Commission (CAMC). Requires that the appointee "...have expertise in determining and evaluating the costs associated with electricity generation and establishing the rates associated with electricity consumption," (was, "...have experience in the use of coal combustion residuals as structural fill for construction or development projects"). Provides for staggered terms for initial members of the CAMC for initial durations of 2 years to six years based on the required qualifications for the appointees as described in this act. Provides that subsequent to the staggered initial terms, all term lengths for all appointees is to be six years. Increases the number of receipt supported positions created in the Division of Emergency Management of the Department of Public Safety to carry out the duties in GS 130A-309.202 to five (was, four). Makes a clarifying change to fully identify the Coal Ash Management Commission.

Amendment #15 makes a number of changes throughout this act. Makes technical corrections to the definition forcoal combustion residuals surface impoundment.Provides that the term includes a coal combustion residuals surface impoundment that has been covered with soil or other material after the final deposition of coal combustion (was, covered with soil). Makes additional technical corrections and clarifying changes throughout the act.

Amends Section 4.(d) in Part III to direct DENR and the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to review the uses of coal combustion products as structural fill and the regulation of this use under this act to determine if the regulatory requirements are sufficient to protect public health. Amends Section 13 in Part VII to require the Department of Transportation to evaluate additional opportunities for using coal combustion products (was, residuals) in building and maintaining roads and bridges within the state.

Amends Section 2.(a) to provide that the moratorium on cost recovery by an electric public utility does not apply to the net recovery of any fuel and fuel-related costs under GS 62-133.2. Clarifies that the moratorium in this section ends on January 15, 2015. Provides that the Utilities Commission is not to authorize an electric public utility to recover any of the costs (was, any additional costs) related to coal combustion residuals surface impoundments that were not included in the utility's cost of service approved in its most recent general rate case.

Amends proposed GS 130A-309.212 to require that the closure plans for impoundments be conducted under the requirements of the newly specified section of the North Carolina Administrative Code. Makes additional changes regarding applicable rules of the NC Administrative Code regarding impoundment closings, the study, assessment, and review of the uses of coal combustion products for other beneficial uses and the review of new Subpart 3.

Adds the requirement that closure plans include projected costs for assessment, corrective action, closure and post-closure care.

Amends new Part 21 of Article 9 of GS Chapter 130A. Deletes the definition for "mine." Adds a definition for "open pit mine," meaning an excavation made at the surface of the ground for the purpose of extracting minerals, inorganic and organic, from their natural deposits. Amends the definition for "structural fill" to include fill used to reclaim open pit mines.

Changes the time limits for expedited permit review. Directs the Department to issue a draft permit decision within 90 days (was, within 60 days) of determining that the application is complete and to issue a final permit decision on an application for a permit within 60 days (was, 30 days) after the comment period on the draft permit decision closes.

Although modifications to an approved closure plan for a Coal Combustion Residuals Surface Impoundment require a written request from the owner seeking the modification, the written approval of DENR, and public notice of the change, minor technical modifications to a closure plan may be made under standard DENR procedures for such minor modifications without written approval from DENR or public notice of the change.

Amends the design requirements for projects using coal combustion products for structural fill to delete the requirement that coal combustion products be compacted in lifts that are not more than one foot in thickness.

Amends the catch phrase for proposed GS 130A-309.215 to read, "Design, construction, and siting requirements for projects using coal combustion products for structural fill," (was, Design requirements for projects...).

Amends the minimum requirements for the components of the liner system necessary for large structural fills to include a cap system (was, a cap liner) meeting newly specified design and construction requirements to minimize infiltration and erosion as indicated in this section.

Adds new subsection (c) to proposed GS 130A-309.215 to prohibit the placement of structural fill facilities on sites with specified geographic characteristics.

Modifies the guidelines for maintaining and operating the leachate collection system for large structural fill projects, and for determining when the constructor or operator may be allowed to stop managing leachate.

Amends the title of proposed GS 130A-309.210 to clarify that it deals with the identification and assessment of discharges, and the correction of unpermitted discharges. Amends subsection (a) to clarify its focus on identification of discharges (was, unpermitted discharges) from Coal Combustion Residuals Surface Impoundments. Makes additional conforming changes, replacing the phrase "unpermitted discharges" with discharges. However, subsection (c) continues to provide for corrective action to prevent unpermitted discharges from coal combustion residuals surface impoundments to the surface waters of the state. Eliminates the following as methods of proposed corrective action: (1) capture and rerouting of the unpermitted discharge through a permitted outfall and (2) implementation of best management practices to prevent the unpermitted discharge. Clarifies that an application for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit amendment under GS 143-215.1 and Subchapter H of Chapter 2 of Title 15A of the North Carolina Administrative Code to bring the unpermitted discharge under permit regulations is a valid method of proposed corrective action.

Also specifies that the owner of a coal combustion residuals must submit a topographic map that identifies all locations of seeps and weeps discharging from the impoundment and monitors other measures regarding the seep and weep factor (was, monitor seep). Makes additional conforming changes to add the phrase "seep and weep" (was, seep).

Enacts new GS 143-215.27A delineating procedures for decommissioning a coal combustion residual surface impoundment facility in order to make the decommissioned facility exempt from the North Carolina Dam Safety Law of 1967. Specifies five items that the decommissioning request must minimally contain, including a proposed geotechnical investigation plan scope of work and a topographic map depicting existing conditions of the containment dam and impoundment area at two foot contour intervals.

Provides that the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources must conduct a preliminary review of the decommission request for completeness and approval of the proposed geotechnical investigation plan scope of work. The owner is then notified by letter with the results of the preliminary review. After receiving a letter approving the preliminary geotechnical plan scope of work, the owner can proceed with field work and development of the geotechnical report. Upon receiving the geotechnical report, the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources is directed to complete the submittal review. Specifies procedures for completing the submittal review. Final approval for the decommission comes in the form of a letter stating the facility is now decommissioned and no longer under the jurisdiction of the Dam Safety Law of 1967.

Provides that GS 130A-309.202, as enacted by Section 3(a) of the act is repealed on June 30, 2030.

Amends the effective date for proposed to GS 62-302.1, regulatory fee for combustion residual surface impoundments, providing that it becomes effective July 1, 2014 and expires on April 1, 2030, applying to jurisdictional revenues earned on or after July 1, 2014 and before April 1, 2030. Further provides that the remainder of Section 14 of the act will become effective on July 1, 2014 (previously, the entire section became effective on July 1, 2014).

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