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As NC debates, other states empty coal ash dumps

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Photo - Coal ash is loaded into a truck at at Santee Cooper's Jefferies power generating station just outside Moncks Corner, S.C., on Feb. 26, 2014. The recycled coal ash is trucked from the site and then used in the manufacture of concrete. Santee Cooper is South Carolina's state-owned electric and water utility. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
Coal ash is loaded into a truck at at Santee Cooper's Jefferies power generating station just outside Moncks Corner, S.C., on Feb. 26, 2014. The recycled coal ash is trucked from the site and then used in the manufacture of concrete. Santee Cooper is South Carolina's state-owned electric and water utility. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (AP) — For months, two South Carolina electricity providers have been working to remove millions of tons of coal ash from waste pits.

But just across the state line in North Carolina, top officials say this very type of ash-removal operation in South Carolina and other states could be dangerous. The worry in North Carolina comes after Duke Energy's massive coal ash spill coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge.

Experts say moving the toxic sludge is not risky. Coal ash dumped decades ago is often dug up and recycled to make concrete, asphalt and other building products.

About half of the more than 100 million tons of coal ash created each year in the United States is recycled.

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