Raleigh, N.C. — A spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger confirmed Thursday that lawmakers were "unlikely" to override Gov. Pat McCrory's veto of a recent coal ash bill.
WRAL News first reported Wednesday that an override effort had stalled and that Senate leaders had quietly met with Duke Energy Chief Executive Lynn Good in the midst of uncertainty over the bill.
At the time, neither Berger, R-Rockingham, nor Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca would say why they had not held an override vote, despite the bill in question, Senate Bill 71, winning broad bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate. Apodaca, R-Henderson, also declined to talk about specifics of why top lawmakers were meeting with Good.
"The purpose of the meeting was to inform Duke it is unlikely the Senate will act on the company’s request to override the governor’s veto, and that we are working with the governor on a resolution that addresses his concerns, avoids a long legal battle and delivers clean drinking water to impacted individuals quickly," Berger spokeswoman Shelly Carver said in an email.
Senate Bill 71 would have reconstituted the Coal Ash Management Commission to oversee cleanup of the toxin-laced waste left after coal is burned for fuel. McCrory objects to that commission, saying it takes away from his executive authority to run the state's day-to-day environmental policy. After suing and winning once to dismantle the group as lawmakers designed it in 2014, he threatened a second lawsuit if lawmakers were to override his veto of this latest bill.