RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - Governor Pat McCrory vetoed a bill that would have required Duke Energy to provide a permanent, alternative source of clean drinking water to homes affected by contaminated groundwater near Duke-owned coal plants.
The bill, SB71, was re-written and hastily pushed through the North Carolina House of Representatives at the end of May. Both houses of the legislature ratified a compromise version of the legislation on June 1.
Among the provisions included in the bill was a requirement that Duke provide affected well owners with a permanent, alternative source of drinking water and the re-establishment of the coal ash commission.
McCrory disbanded the coal ash commission created by the 2014 Coal Ash Management Act after a court ruled the commission was unconstitutional. In that case, McCrory sued Republican leaders of the legislature to challenge the validity of a commission that carried out an executive function but was made of a majority of members he did not appoint.
The new bill called for McCrory to appoint a majority of the members of the re-constituted coal ash commission.
In a statement announcing his veto, McCrory said the legislation was bad for the environment.
"This legislation is not good for the environment or for the rule of law in North Carolina," McCrory said. "This bill lacks a firm deadline to connect well owners to alternate water supplies."
Instead, the statement said, McCrory will seek a court order to require Duke to establish alternate water connections for well owners on a set timeline and to ensure repairs are made to Duke's coal ash dams.
Following McCrory's announcement, the bill's author, Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), told WBTV the Governor's veto was expected but still disappointed.
McGrady said he expected the legislature to override McCrory's veto, possibly triggering another lawsuit.