Northam announces coal ash clean up agreement

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s governor and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are announcing plans to require the state’s largest electric utility to excavate and clean up unlined coal ash pits.

Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, and Republican leaders announced an agreement on the $3 billion plan Thursday. It would require Dominion Energy to recycle or store in lined landfills 27 million cubic yards (20.6 million cubic meters) of coal ash currently located at four sites around the state.

Lawmakers say the proposal will eventually add about $5 to monthly electric bills.

In a dramatic about-face, Dominion says it supports the plan. The company has argued for years that leaving coal ash in unlined pits was safe and the best alternative.

Coal ash is waste left from burning the fossil fuel to produce electricity.

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