Coal Ash News and Media

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How Breathing Coal Ash Is Hazardous to Your Health

Toxic coal ash dust at the Making Money Having Fun Landfill in Bokoshe, OK. Despite obvious health risks, no federal requirements exist to control …

Danville park reopens after coal ash clean-up

Abreu-Grogan Park reopened Thursday, after being closed for about 10 weeks to remove 2,500 tons of coal ash from the Dan River, a result of the …

Killian, Lehmert, Poe: The Inside Scoop

RALEIGH Legislators working on a compromise coal ash bill have hit an impasse in their negotiations, Rep. Chuck McGrady, a member of the …

Ash in Lungs: How Breathing Coal Ash is Hazardous to your Health

Take a deep breath but not too deep if you live near a coal ash dumpsite, because the air pollution from coal ash dust can be dangerous. Today …

Ash

coal ash into a nearby landfill or lagoon, don't inhale too deeply because you're probably breathing fugitive dust made up of airborne coal ash filled …

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NC’s Coal Ash Disaster: 6 Months Later

Local kids play in the Dan River at Draper Landing, where sediment samples show toxic coal ash deposits lurking just below the water's surface. Photo source: Greensboro News & Record

Local kids play in the Dan River at Draper Landing, where sediment samples show toxic coal ash deposits lurking just below the water’s surface. Photo source: Greensboro News & Record

Six months ago some of our worst fears became true (for a second time) when 140,000 tons of coal ash and contaminated wastewater spilled into the Dan River near Eden, North Carolina. As the spill continued for almost 2 weeks, a dark grey plume travelled 70 miles downstream threatening drinking water supplies and the river’s long-term health. Unlike other pollutants that can break down in the environment over time, heavy metal-laden ash settles to the river bed and the toxics can reenter the water column, get stirred up during flooding, and be taken up into the food chain as long as ash remains.

Duke Energy said they would take full responsibility and clean up the spill, with CEO Lynn Good stating in April 2014, “We are now continuing to work at cleaning up the river, and we will stay there until that is resolved.”

 So far, Duke Energy has removed 6% of its ash from the Dan as required by EPA. While short-term clean up efforts have ceased, the job of remediating this spill is far from over. 

Continued pressure is needed on EPA, Duke and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR) to ensure that every possible opportunity is taken to continue clean up efforts and protect Duke’s neighbors, the public, and the environment at all of NC’s coal ash dumpsites.

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Coal Ash Removal Underway by Santee Cooper in Conway, S.C.

 

Ash removed from Santee Cooper's coal ash impoundments will be responsibly recycled or disposed of in lined, dry storage away from waterways.

Ash removed from Santee Cooper’s coal ash impoundments will be responsibly recycled or disposed of in lined, dry storage away from waterways.

July 30, 2014

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. –According to the first Santee Cooper coal ash removal report released this week, Santee Cooper has removed over 42,000 tons from its unlined coal ash lagoons on the banks of the Waccamaw River in Conway, South Carolina. The removal is part of a settlement reached between Santee Cooper and citizen groups represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center — the Waccamaw Riverkeeper, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

“Santee Cooper is carrying out its obligations and removing coal ash from Conway and the banks of the Waccamaw River in South Carolina,” said Frank Holleman, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center who represented the groups in the litigation. “The end result will be restored wetlands and a safer, cleaner Conway and Waccamaw. Duke Energy should follow Santee Cooper’s example by cleaning up all of its coal ash in North and South Carolina —moving the coal ash to safer, dry, lined storage away from rivers and waterways.”

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Toxic Coal Ash Puts Apalachicola River at Risk

This post originally appeared in the Apalachicola and Carrabelle Times on July 9, 2014. You can access the original piece here

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The Apalachicola River supports one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the nation.

Early this year, the picturesque Dan River in North Carolina was hit by a devastating toxic spill that spread 70 miles downstream, poisoning the water and everything in it. Why am I telling you about an environmental disaster which happened hundreds of miles away from us?

Because our own Apalachicola River is vulnerable to the same series of events, and we need to do everything we can to prevent this from happening here.

The hazardous coal ash that fouled the Dan River was stockpiled at a Duke Energy coal-fired power plant site. Like other power companies, Duke stores the hazardous ash that’s left over from burning coal in huge, unlined pits. When a pipe at the Duke plant failed, 140,000 tons of coal ash and contaminated wastewater went into the river.

We have toxic coal ash stockpiled along the Apalachicola, at Gulf Power Company’s Scholz Generating Plant near Sneads. And it is leaking into the river. In June 2013, samples of bright orange contamination leaking out of the pits contained arsenic at levels 300 times the amount considered safe for drinking water.

Besides poisonous arsenic, the coal ash also contains toxics like cadmium, and chromium – well-known carcinogens – as well as aluminum, barium, beryllium, copper, lead, nickel, zinc, selenium, and the neurotoxin mercury.

This is a public hazard. On June 4, Apalachicola Riverkeeper, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and Waterkeeper Alliance filed a federal lawsuit against Gulf Power under the Clean Water Act. The public-interest law firm Earthjustice is representing us in the suit.

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Coal Ash and Summer Fun Just Don’t Mix

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Is there any better way to beat the heat than a trip down a lazy river?

This post is authored by Joan Walker and was originally published on SACE’s Clean Energy Footprints blog

If you’re anything like me, this is the time of year when you’re gearing up to get out on your favorite waterway for some summer fun. Whether you’re tubing, paddling, fishing, swimming or just taking in the scenery; our region’s rivers, lakes and streams are the perfect place to cool off and enjoy the great outdoors!

Waterways are also vitally important to our communities and economy; with rivers alone providing drinking water for over 65% of Americans and generating $86 billion a year in economic activity. As National Rivers Months draws to an end, it’s important not only to get out and enjoy the amazing waterways we’re blessed with in the Southeast, but to also take action to protect our waterways from threats like toxic coal ash.

You’ve likely heard about the Dan River coal ash spill that happened this February and all the news about North Carolina’s coal ash that’s come to light since then. Right now, the North Carolina Legislature is moving a bill that could help clean up the state’s coal ash dumpsites (if you live in NC, click here to ask your elected officials to make necessary improvements to this bill).

But coal ash isn’t just a problem in North Carolina, the Southeast is home to over 450 toxic dumpsites that threaten communities and the waterways we all love and depend on. 

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Coal Ash Legal Fight Moves to Florida

On any given day you can find people boating and fishing on the Apalachicola just downstream of the Scholz dumpsites.

On any given day you can find people boating and fishing on the Apalachicola just downstream of the Scholz dumpsites.

With all the news following the Dan River coal ash disaster this February, it may seem that North Carolina is the only Southeastern state with coal ash woes. Unfortunately, there are plenty of problems to go around with at least 450 ash dumpsites scattered across our region. Many of these are aging, unlined, wet storage impoundments located on vital water resources and drinking water supplies, just like those on the Dan River.

To date, little attention has been given to Florida’s coal ash problems, even though it’s home to 78 ash impoundments. That is changing, however, as SACE recently teamed up with our partners at Earthjustice, Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Apalachicola Riverkeeper to investigate the impoundments at Gulf Power’s Scholz Generating Station, located on the banks of the Apalachicola River, which supports a multi-billion dollar seafood industry and one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the country.

Our testing revealed illegal seeps pouring high concentrations of toxic heavy metals into the river, and last week we filed a federal federal lawsuit to stop Gulf’s pollution and protect the Apalachicola. 

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