Coal Ash News and Media

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NC State researchers say Dan River water safe for crops and livestock despite coal ash spill

RALEIGH, North Carolina — North Carolina State University scientists say farmers along the Dan River can use surface water for crops and livestock …

Weekly wrap: Medicaid, NC FAST, coal ash, Senate debate

His proposal would result in the closure of coal ash ponds statewide, but much to environmentalists' dismay, wouldn't require Duke Energy to dig up …

Duke incurred $15M in Q1 costs related to coal ash spill

Duke Energy (DUK) says it incurred ~$15M in costs related to February's coal ash spill in North Carolina, and warns it is not yet able to estimate further …

NC gov’s proposal doesn’t address Duke ash pits

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — While Gov. Pat McCrory is touting a proposal to strengthen government oversight of the state's coal ash dumps, it doesn't …

Duke Energy tells investors that dealing with Dan River ash spill won’t affect bottom line

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Duke Energy told shareholders Thursday that cleanup costs resulting from its massive coal ash spill into the Dan …

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NC Sides With Duke in Appeal of Coal Ash Ruling

April 8, 2014 (AP)
By Michael Biesecker/Associated Press


A Duke Energy crew works to dig out a broken stormwater pipe under a coal ash pond at the company’s Dan River plant. Source:

North Carolina regulators are joining with Duke Energy in appealing a judge’s ruling on cleaning up groundwater pollution leeching from the company’s coal ash dumps.

The state Environmental Management Commission filed notice Monday that it intends to appeal a March 6 ruling by Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway.

The commission and Duke contend North Carolina law does not give the state the authority to order an immediate cleanup. Ridgeway ruled the state had been misinterpreting the law for years.

Environmentalists say the decision to file an appeal directly conflicts with public statements from Gov. Pat McCrory suggesting his administration is getting tough with his former employer after a Feb. 2 coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic gray sludge.

McCrory, a Republican, worked for Duke more than 28 years prior to retiring to run for governor. The nation’s largest electricity company and its employees have remained generous political supporters to McCrory’s campaign and GOP-aligned groups that support him, providing more than $1.1 million in support since 2008.


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Dan River Groups Seek Cleanup of Duke’s Coal Ash Pollution


Coal ash and contaminated wastewater have spilled into the Dan River from this 48-inch stormwater pipe and multiple other points.

March 20, 2014

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—The Southern Environmental Law Center today filed motions to allow four conservation groups working on the Dan River to participate in the state court enforcement action against Duke Energy for its illegal coal ash pollution of the Dan River and groundwater drinking supplies. SELC filed the motion on behalf of groups that monitor and protect the Dan River– the Dan River Basin Association, the Roanoke River Basin Association, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and Waterkeeper Alliance. They identified numerous illegal discharges ignored by the state in the aftermath of Duke’s disastrous coal ash spill last month.

“The tragic Dan River spill and the revelations of uncomfortably close ties between Duke Energy and DENR make it all the more important that citizens and local conservation groups have a seat at the table,” said Frank Holleman, the senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represents the groups in court. “We will work to make sure that the Dan River is protected and that Duke Energy cleans up the Dan River site.”

The groups seek to stop and clean up unpermitted streams of contaminated surface water that have been discharging from the dikes of the Dan River coal ash lagoons since before the spill and are continuing today, as well as persistent groundwater pollution leaching from these unlined impoundments that documentation shows Duke Energy and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources have known about since the early 1990s. The illegal discharges at Dan River include high levels of coal ash pollutants such as arsenic and lead.

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Picnic for the Dan River: Eden community rallies after coal ash spill for World Water Day

This Saturday's event will celebrate the many parts of the Dan River unaffected by the spill and call for swift clean up of impacted areas.

This Saturday’s event will celebrate the many parts of the Dan River unaffected by the spill and call for swift clean up of impacted areas.

March 20, 2014

Speakers, residents and clean water advocates will rally at Island Ford Landing in Eden on World Water Day, Saturday, March 22 from noon to 1:30 to celebrate the Dan River and all the rivers throughout the Dan River Basin, and call on Duke Energy to provide information on how it plans to clean up from last month’s coal ash spill at the Dan River power plant.

Last month, more than 39,000 tons of toxic coal ash and 24 million gallons of contaminated wastewater spilled from Duke Energy’s coal ash impoundments north of Eden, spurring significant public outcry to protect all of North Carolina’s rivers from this dangerous threat. The spill also created a stigma on the rivers here, said Jenny Edwards, program manager for the Dan River Basin Association.

“Recovery from this disaster includes changing the public perception that the entire Dan is toxic, because that’s just not the case,” Edwards said.

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Dan River Disaster Recap Timeline

Coal ash eddies in the Dan River. Photo source: Appalachian Voices

Coal ash eddies in the Dan River. Photo source: Appalachian Voices

Having trouble keeping track of all the developments since the Dan River disaster began over a month ago? We continue to be amazed that the coal ash spill and subsequent developments have been in the news almost every day. This story has more twists and turns than the Dan River itself; sparking significant public outcry, a federal investigation into Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Gov. McCrory’s request for Duke’s coal ash plans and more. Keeping up with the latest developments has been challenging, so  we compiled this retrospective timeline showing how this story has unfolded over the weeks. Please share!

February 2: A stormwater pipe bursts beneath an unlined coal ash impoundment at Duke Energy’s retired Dan River plant, spilling coal ash and contaminated wastewater directly into the Dan River.

February 3: Approximately 26 hours after the spill began Duke Energy finally notifies the public. NC Department of Natural Resources staff are on the scene helping to control the leak and begin taking water quality samples. Even at this early stage, with no water quality testing of the River or coal ash complete, officials downstream in Danville say the city’s drinking water will be safe.

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