What took so long?
Over two months after a spill along the Dan River affected nearly 70 miles of the water supply, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has a plan.
He announced his plan Thursday which includes closing or converting all 33 coal ash pits in the state — including those located at the Cliffside Steam Station.
Our question is: What took so long?
It isn’t that coal ash is a new by-product of power generation.
It isn’t that there haven’t been environmental concerns regarding coal ash in the past. Just ask the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The governor’s proposal plans to focus on increasing pond and dam safety around coal ash, protecting drinking water and groundwater quality along with the closure or conversion of the coal ash pits located around the state.
In a statement, McCrory said his staff has noticed these shortcomings in state law since taking office in 2013.
So again, the question remains: What took so long?
Was it a question of politics and state lawmakers unwilling to address the matter?
It certainly can’t be because these loopholes were just written into law. The laws have been on the books for years and it took a situation like what happened in Eden to alert our lawmakers to the problems.
That seems to be a bit of a stretch.
The fact of the matter is the state turned a blind eye to the problems with coal ash and it wasn’t until a significant spill hit the pages of newspapers around the country that they started to take notice.
It is the responsibility of our state leaders to preserve our public health.
There has been no argument or refuting of that fact.
But, that preservation cannot be reactive. We have to be proactive when dealing with issues such as coal ash and the quality of drinking water.
Even McCrory admitted coal ash is not a new problem.
“We need to close these loopholes and give our regulators the tools they need to solve this more than 60-year-old coal ash problem,” he said in a statement.
We believe the General Assembly should take this action plan under serious advisement.
We can ill-afford sweeping this problem under the rug as has been the status quo for 60 years.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board.
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Alex Moore, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.