Friday, May 30, 2014

Duke Should Move Coal Ash From Rivers

Duke should move coal ash away from rivers

By GENE ADDESSO | Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 10:10 am 
Duke Energy says it will move its polluting coal ash to safer storage away from our waterways to protect some lakes and rivers, but not Belews Creek, Hyco or Mayo.

Gov. Pat McCrory recently proposed legislation to require Duke Energy to remove coal ash to protect some communities, but again not those surrounding the above-mentioned sites.

In February on the Dan River, we saw the terrible threat posed by Duke Energy’s coal ash practices. Duke dumps its coal ash in outdated, unlined pits next to our rivers and drinking water, held back only by dikes made of soil that leak.

Also in the Roanoke River Basin, Duke Energy stores coal ash in unlined pits, or impoundments next to rivers and Lakes.

The coal ash contains toxic substances we do not want in our rivers, our fish, our wildlife or our drinking water: arsenic, lead, manganese, selenium and boron, to name a few.
These coal ash dumps are always at risk of catastrophic failure, triggered by a flood, a tropical storm, or just age and neglect.

There is a simple solution. Duke can move this coal ash away from our waterways to safe, dry storage in a lined landfill.

That is what the other two utilities in the Carolinas are doing, just across the border in South Carolina, without raising customer rates.

This is how you and I are required to dispose of our household garbage. Duke should take at least this step to protect our rivers and our drinking water.

Yet, Duke Energy has refused to commit to moving its coal ash away from all our waters, and neither our state environmental agency nor McCrory has required Duke to do it.

Duke has promised to move its coal ash away from rivers in Asheville and Charlotte — but not from all of its sites. Why is Duke turning its back on the other communities?

Ask Duke Energy and Gov. McCrory to do what is right for all the communities in jeopardy not just a selected few.

Also ask your legislators to protect the water in your river or lake which many times is the lifeblood of your community.

Gene Addesso, president of the Roanoke River Basin Association, may be reached at