Chatham Commissioner Mike Cross’ environmental record on coal ash

By Larry Hicks

This round I had promised to talk to the assertion that Mike Cross voted more with the Republicans than with Democrats. But there is a pretty good summary on that on Mike’s February 3rd post to his Facebook page,

Another reason I like Mike Cross is his commitment to the environment. Some may recall that Mike Cross got his start as a Chatham County Commissioner opposing a regional waste dump in southeast Chatham. On December 5, 2014 Mike, along with the entire board of Commissioners (BOC), passed the Resolution Opposing Coal Ash Disposal in Chatham. This round, however, the NCGA effectively invalidated any County Commission in the State from having a say in the matter (I call it legislative overreach). There was nothing the County Commissioners could do to stop it. Coal ash was coming to Chatham (actually it was already here; 5.7M tons of it next to the Haw River in storage ponds).

coal ash truckWhile the coal ash was coming uninvited, it would not be coming unmonitored. It was Mike Cross and Jim Crawford that spent several months negotiating a nearly $19 million Coal Ash Agreement with Duke Energy, which the BOC approved on a 3-2 vote (Commissioners Hales and Howard voted against the funding. I am not sure why, you may need to ask them). I do know that Mike Cross and the majority of the board that voted for this agreement took some heat for their votes, under the wrongful and emotional assumption that this agreement brought coal ash to Chatham County.

Rather, this agreement provided funds to monitor Duke’s coal ash activity and make sure they are doing it safely and correctly. More importantly the agreement will make sure that the 5.7M tons currently next to the Haw River will be part of the initial cleanup. It will be sealed, leachate will be collected and cleaned at Sanford Waste Water Treatment Plant. Chatham is already independently monitoring air and water quality … including wells within a mile of the sites. Without this action by Cross, Crawford, and Petty, Chatham would be left to the inspections and reports provided by Duke Energy alone. That would be unacceptable, don’t you think?

This is leadership. This is working across different political perspectives.. This is understanding the bigger picture. This is taking action when others prefer to simply make a political statement. This is making a difference..

This is why I support Mike Cross.

Feel free to peruse Commissioner Mike Cross’s Facebook page,, and read up on Mike’s engagement on behalf of the citizens of Chatham County,