INSTITUTE INDEX: North Carolina's weak new coal ash law draws protest

This week's protest outside Duke Energy's Charlotte headquarters over North Carolina's weak new coal ash law dramatized the imbalance between the company and ordinary citizens with a game of tug-of-war. (Image is a still from a WSOC-TV news report.)

Date on which the North Carolina legislature overwhelmingly approved the Coal Ash Management Act, a response to a massive February spill from a shuttered Duke Energy power plant into the Dan River: 8/20/2014

Number of other states that have similar laws governing coal ash disposal: 0

Of Duke Energy's 14 coal ash disposal sites across the state, number where impoundments are leaking contaminants to the environment: 14

Number of those 14 coal ash sites where the new law requires all the coal ash to be removed from impoundments and transferred to lined landfills: 4

Of the 10 sites not designated for immediate cleanup under the law, number where serious threats have been documented in recent news reports: 3

Date by which new construction or expansion of coal ash impoundments is banned under the law: 10/1/2014

Year by which the contents of coal ash dumpsites determined to be high risk must be excavated and placed in lined landfills: 2019

Number of years that coal ash dumpsite owners can delay closure under the law: 3

Month in which the bill lifts a moratorium forbidding Duke from raising customer rates to finance the coal ash cleanup: 1/2015

Month in which a judge in Wake County, North Carolina issued a ruling requiring groundwater pollution at nearly all of the state's coal ash dumpsites to be fixed immediately -- a ruling that the law overturns: 3/2014

Number of seats on the Coal Ash Management Commission that the bill sets up within the Department of Public Safety to oversee disposal and cleanup of the toxic waste: 9

Percent of those seats that will be filled through political appointments: 100

Number of those appointments that will be made by Gov. Pat McCrory, a longtime Duke Energy employee who is embroiled in controversy over misreporting his holdings in the company on his latest financial disclosure form: 3

Total amount of Duke Energy's direct contributions to McCrory's two gubernatorial campaigns through the end of 2012: $332,836

Total amount Duke Energy's political action committee has contributed to North Carolina politics since 1996: over $2.1 million

Date on which protesters with Greenpeace, Charlotte NAACP Action, and Charlotte Environmental Action protested against the bill outside Duke Energy's Charlotte headquarters: 8/21/2014

Date by which the Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to release federal rules governing coal ash disposal, an effort to create some consistency in oversight: 12/19/2014

(Click on figure to go to source.)