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.
House amendments make the following changes to the 4th edition:
Amends proposed GS 130A-309.212(a)(3), concerning the closure of low-risk impoundments, providing that such impoundments can be closed in any manner allowed pursuant to GS 130A-309.212(a)(1), but at a minimum they must be dewatered (previously, did not allow closure by any manner in GS 130A-309.212(a)(1)).
Directs the Coal Ash Management Commission to study how to promote, incentivize, and prioritize the beneficial use of coal combustion products over the disposal of coal combustion residuals.
Amends proposed GS 130A-309.203, concerning expedited permit review, providing that DENR must either issue or deny a permit required for dewatering of a retired impoundment within 90 days of receipt of a completed application. Directs DENR to accept written comment on draft permit decisions for a period of not less than 30 days or more than 60 days prior to issuance or denial of said permit. Provides that if DENR fails to act within the above time period, an applicant can treat such failure as a denial of the permit and can challenge the denial as provided in GS Chapter 150B.
Amends the language providing for the moratorium on cost recovery by electric public utilities, providing that any utility is not prohibited from seeking, nor is the Utilities Commission prohibited from authorizing, a deferral for costs related to coal ash impoundments.
Amends the membership of the Coal Ash Management Commission, deleting language that required one member to be employed or recently retired from an industrial manufacturing facility or be a representative of an electric membership corporation and replacing it with language requiring one of the members appointed by the Governor to be a representative of an electric membership corporation who has a background in power supply resource planning and engineering. Further provides that the member required to have a background in science or engineering in order to be appointed must have that science or engineering background in the manufacturing sector in order to be qualified for appointment.
Provides that the Department of Transportation must send the results of its study evaluating opportunities for the use of coal combustion to the Environmental Review Commission and the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee (previously, report was only to be submitted to the Environmental Review Commission).
Amends GS 143-215.31(a1), which directs the owner of a dam classified as a high-hazard dam or an intermediate-hazard dam to develop an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for the dam. Amends the items that must be included in the EAP to also require security risks to be included in the description of potential emergency conditions that could occur.
Provides that regardless of the provisions of GS 143-215.31, as amended by this act, the owners of all high-hazard and intermediate-hazard dams in operation on the effective date of this act must submit their EAPs to DENR and the Department of Public Safety no later than March 1, 2015 (was, October 1, 2015).
Amends GS 143-215.30 to require the owner of a dam who legally transfers title to the dam to another as owner to provide DENR with written notice of the transfer within 30 days after title to the dam has been legally transferred. Requires the notice of transfer to include the name and address of the new dam owner.