Coal power plants, aside from generating electricity and the worst carbon dioxide emissions of any power plant.
As if coal power wasn’t dirty enough, from an emissions standpoint, they also generate tons of coal ash as a byproduct of combustion. Of course, the coal ash has to be put somewhere, but the only solution, so far, is in open pits. Proper storage of coal ash, even in open pits, includes making sure the pit is lined properly to keep water from seeping through to the ground underneath and, eventually, rivers, streams, and groundwater supplies.
Duke Energy runs fourteen coal power plants in North Carolina, and stores its coal ash in 33 open, some unlined, pits in various areas across the state. If coal ash pollution leaches from the ash pits to the soil and water supply, it seems logical that the company ought to take corrective actions. A tiny 330-word addition to what might be a 42,000-word law, the Regulatory Reform Act, effectively absolves Duke Energy from having to clean up its mess, such as breach that coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge on February 2, 2014.
The Regulatory Reform Act, crafted to benefit businesses, was described by North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory, also a Duke Energy 28-year veteran, this way, “For decades, Democrats have stifled small businesses and job creators with undue bureaucratic burden and red tape. This common-sense legislation cuts government red tape, axes overly burdensome regulations, and puts job creation first here in North Carolina.” [bold mine] It also axes coal power pollution cleanup and responsibility, apparently, as an “overly burdensome regulation.” Way to go North Carolina.