Coal ash cleanup plan off to bad start

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Gov. Pat McCrory has caught plenty of heat for his handling of the Dan River coal ash spill.

Some critics wondered why it took the governor so long to demand a cleanup response from Duke Energy. The more cynical ones have noted that McCrory worked for Duke Energy for almost three decades.

Now come Republican lawmakers who have expressed perplexment over the governor’s Comprehensive Coal Ash Action Plan, released by McCrory last week.

Any change in state law regarding policies and cleanup related to coal ash storage would have to pass both chambers in the N.C. General Assembly before it could be signed into law by McCrory.

Why then did the governor roll out his proposal without taking any input from legislators beforehand, some of his fellow Republicans in the legislature have wondered.

Environmentalist groups, meanwhile, have noted that some of the proposals contained in the governor’s plan reflect suggestions already made by Duke Energy officials.

The plan also falls short of setting firm deadlines for cleanup and disposal of coal ash ponds around the state. Does the governor’s proposal go far enough to hold Duke accountable?

McCrory and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources say the Comprehensive Coal Ash Action Plan is merely a starting point for legislators to consider when they convene for their short session next month.

But so far, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of love for the plan from McCrory’s fellow Republicans or from environmentalist groups.

That doesn’t sound like much of a starting point.