Kay Hagan’s Dismal Record On Coal Ash


Raleigh, N.C. - Kay Hagan and her left-wing dark money allies have been launching false and downright hypocritical attacks against Thom Tillis, conveniently neglecting to mention Hagan’s disastrous record on coal ash that led to the spill as well as her cozy relationship with Duke Energy.

After 80 years of inaction in the General Assembly, Thom Tillis took leadership to cleanup the coal ash spills and help prevent future accidents. The House and Senate are currently working on a comprehensive bill that directly addresses the threat of coal ash. The House plan, which passed on a bipartisan 94-16 vote, would form a “Coal Ash Management Commission” that would create and then execute cleanup plans for every pond in North Carolina.

It’s a stark contrast to Kay Hagan’s failed record as a leader in the North Carolina state Senate, when she repeatedly sided with Duke Energy by voting to exempt hazardous coal ash from environmental regulations, paving the way for the coal ash spill that occurred earlier this year.  

In 2006, Hagan voted for S.B. 353, which specifically exempted coal ash basins from new environmental controls.

SECTION 3. Exceptions. – The moratorium established by Section 2 of this act shall not prohibit consideration of an application for or issuance of: 
[…]
(5) A permit for a sanitary landfill used only to dispose of waste generated by a coal-fired generating unit that is owned or operated by an investor-owned utility subject to the requirements of G.S. 143-215.107D.

Then in 2007, Hagan voted for S.B. 1492, which allowed for the disposal of hazardous coal ash in unlined landfills.

SECTION 8.(b)  This section becomes effective 1 August 2007 and applies to any application for a permit for a solid waste management facility that is pending on that date.  The section shall not apply to:
[…]
(5) A permit for a sanitary landfill used only to dispose of waste generated by a coal-fired generating unit that is owned or operated by an investor-owned utility subject to the requirements of G.S. 143-215.107D.

With Hagan’s atrocious record, it’s no surprise that she has since dodged questions about the coal ash spill, embarrassingly proposing that we need to “study” the issue further when asked how she would address the spill.  

The Charlotte Observer editorial board ripped Hagan for her cozy relationship with Duke energy and mocked her ridiculous suggestion of further “study” at the same time Speaker Tillis and other North Carolina leaders were working on a comprehensive solution to prevent future accidents.


She was even hesitant when talking about Duke Energy and its coal ash ponds. Up to 39,000 tons of coal ash spilled from the company’s pond in Eden into the Dan River earlier this month – the third-largest spill in U.S. history. After years of environmentalists’ study, Republicans and Democrats alike have said Duke needs to close the ponds and store the ash in dry, lined landfills.

Hagan? She thinks we need to study the issue further.

“I think we in North Carolina have really woken up to the disastrous problem that has just recently taken place here,” she said, according to WRAL. “… When you think that just a broken pipe has caused this amount of leakage, and we know that we have 36 coal ash ponds in North Carolina, it is a serious issue, and we need to study it.” She added that “I certainly want to review the science” on coal ash storage.

This approach, not her eventual votes and policy stances, is her biggest vulnerability in this campaign. As Hagan spends millions she receives from special interests to counter the millions her special-interest opponents spend against her, North Carolinians will try to look beyond the mudslinging. They will want to see a candidate who knows what she believes and isn’t afraid to articulate it, even if it upsets her base or the giant utility that helps fund her campaign.  [Charlotte Observer, 2/25/14]


The blatantly misleading and dishonest attacks coming from Kay Hagan and her left-wing dark money allies are a clear attempt to cover-up her own failed record.  The records of the candidates for U.S. Senate speak for themselves. Thom Tillis took swift and comprehensive action to directly address North Carolina’s coal ash problem. Kay Hagan chose Duke Energy over North Carolina by voting for  specific exemptions that allowed them to dump hazardous coal ash in unlined landfills.

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