Our View: Never mind the politics; clean up coal ash


Thursday, June 2, 2016

We are used to banging our heads against the wall over the partisan gamesmanship that too often thwarts common-sense action in Raleigh and Washington. But standoffs between Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly make even less sense. They are supposedly all members of the same Grand Old Party.

There has been little to celebrate as the governor and the legislature go around and around on coal ash.

The General Assembly in 2014 approved a bill to create a special commission to deal with coal ash cleanup, and McCrory allowed the measure to become law.

Months later, the governor sued the legislature, claiming the commission encroached on his executive authority. The N.C. Supreme Court ruled 6-1 in favor of the governor.

Now, the legislature has drafted and passed a new bill to create another new Coal Ash Management Commission, this time giving the governor the authority to appoint five of the seven people who would sit on the panel. McCrory said he will veto the new measure.

Based on the votes the bill received in the N.C. House and N.C. Senate, the legislature can easily overturn McCrory’s veto.

But somewhere behind this glorified spitting contest lies a real need for the state government to do something. Coal ash ponds scattered around North Carolina pose an environmental threat to nearby wells.

The people who live near those sites do not really care about Raleigh gamesmanship. They just want clean water to drink.

The sooner the governor and lawmakers understand that, the better for everyone.