Proposed Senate legislation may require Duke Energy to excavate and reseal all of its coal ash basins in the state. In the wake of a breach that contaminated a 70-mile stretch of the Dan River, a handful of key legislators have drafted a bill that would mandate the closing of more than one-hundred ash dumps. About a dozen of the sites lie near power plants in Goldsboro and Wilmington. Currently, the bill also requires the toxic ash be re-buried in sealed landfills within the next fifteen years. According to Duke Energy spokesperson Jeff Brookes, the endeavor would cost no more than ten billion dollars over a thirty-year timeframe.
“If you were to excavate all the basins in North Carolina, it would be about 8 billion dollars. If you were to use a combination of those, it’d certainly be less.”
Other methods of disposal include recycling the ash or reusing it as a structural foundation, as had been done at the Asheville Regional Airport.