North Carolina lawmakers have approved legislation they say makes the state the nation's first to address decades of toxic water pollution from residue left behind by coal-burning electricity plants.
The General Assembly on Wednesday approved legislation addressing the problem unmasked six months ago when a coal ash spill from a Duke Energy plant coated 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge. The measure goes to Gov. Pat McCrory before becoming law.
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Environmentalists say the legislation improved on earlier efforts, but didn't go far enough.
Lawmakers say the measure would reverse a Superior Court judge's ruling that Duke must take "immediate action" to eliminate groundwater contamination that crosses onto a neighboring property.
Environmental attorney Frank Holleman says that will allow Duke to study the problem indefinitely before starting cleanup.