Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory, along with two prior governors, filed a lawsuit claiming that lawmakers infringed on the chief executive's constitutional prerogatives when it created independent commissions to govern the cleanup of coal ash as well as oversee drilling for oil and natural gas and a third commission to oversee mining operations.
On Monday, a three-judge panel agreed with McCrory.
The three judges said that the legislature violated the separation of powers doctrine that divides different responsibilities between the branches of government. They also said the legislature overstepped its authority when it forced McCrory to issue executive orders implementing the Coal Ash Management Commission, which was created to oversee the cleanup of the material leftover after coal is burned for fuel.
In other legislative happenings, lawmakers cleared the way to legalize natural gas drilling in the state beginning Tuesday. A bill that received final approval in the Senate Monday night would rescind a requirement that state regulators write special air pollution rules for drilling operations. The measure was signed by McCrory late Monday evening.