Official: Coal ash deadlines straining environmental agency

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Coal Ash stored at Duke Energy's Sutton Plant in New Hanover County in 2015. (Photo: WWAY)

By JONATHAN DREW
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An official with North Carolina’s environmental regulation agency says deadlines under a coal-ash cleanup law have put enormous strain on the department’s staff.

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Tom Reeder is an assistant secretary with the Department of Environmental Quality. He made the remarks Wednesday as part of a status report on efforts to close storage sites for the residue created when power plants burn coal. His agency is assessing 32 coal-ash basins around the state to prioritize when each must close.

During a meeting before the General Assembly’s Environmental Review Commission, Reeder said analyzing the voluminous amounts of data on tight deadlines have stretched staff “to the absolute breaking point.”

But at the same time he says more data is needed to finish its work.



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