Please Do Not Concur on the Senate PCS for H374 “Business Freedom Act”
Background: There was strong support in both chambers last year for the beneficial reuse of coal ash in concrete because: 1) the health hazard of coal ash is permanently removed from the environment; 2) concrete producers are importing most of the coal ash that is required for construction from outside the state and country; 3) the cost for coal ash clean up would be defrayed by the concrete industry paying for the reprocessed coal ash. The 2016 legislation, H630 Drinking Water Protection/Coal Ash Cleanup Act, had a provision agreed upon by Duke Energy, the concrete industry and the environmental community that would require Duke Energy to build three beneficiation projects for cementitious purposes to produce 900,000 tons. Two projects have been started, but the third is required to be announced with a meaningful contract and site location by this Saturday, July 1, 2018.
Why is the Carolinas Ready Mixed Concrete Association asking the House not to concur?
- Section 4 of the bill requires an EMC study of the third unit with preset parameters they are allowed to consider which will never show a need for a third unit. The company who is now handling Duke’s coal ash management of landfills and clay mines is pushing this provision.
- The provision requires a 20% cement replacement requirement of fly ash for cement which assumes that there is a one to one substitution of fly ash for concrete. The actual percentage used by engineering specifications is closer to 35% to 40%.
- The study requires the project to be “commercially viable” and only requires analysis of the cost of the third project. It does not take into account the cost of other methods of coal ash management. No other form of coal ash management is required to be commercially viable.
- The Ready Mixed industry commissioned a study by Dr. Leming at North Carolina State University. The study shows that concrete needed 959,000 tons of fly ash in 2016 alone.
- Quality coal ash for the construction of roads, bridges and buildings is priced between $35 and $45 a ton. At $40 a ton and purchasing the whole 900,000 tons the concrete industry desperately needs right now; Duke Energy would have revenue of $36,000,000 annually
- The Ready Mixed industry is currently purchasing most of its fly ash from outside the state and country because of shortages and quality requirements.
- The Morehead City Port has been approached by a fly ash marketer who want’s to initially import 150,000 tons of bagged fly ash from India.
- The NC State study estimate for fly ash needs for NC, SC and VA is 2,785,000 tons annually for 2015 through 2020
- Coal Ash clean up costs for Duke are estimated to be $4.5B over 12 years
- Duke spokeswoman, Paige Sheehan, says “We did not request, and do not want, a delay in the deadline”. Charlotte Business Journal 6/16/2017
The concrete industry will use all 900,000 from the three beneficiation projects. Purchasing of the coal ash produced will help defray the cost of clean up to ratepayers. The coal ash will be permanently removed. If concrete doesn’t buy it from Duke Energy, it will be imported from outside the country. Construction cannot stop in North Carolina and our industry demands the ability to buy fly ash from NC sources as a part of the solution for coal ash clean up in our state!
Connie Wilson, CRMCA Lobbyist, 919-274-0557