Coal Ash News and Media
Continue to check back for updates:
March 6, 2014
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—A Wake County Judge today ruled that Duke Energy must take immediate action to eliminate the sources of groundwater contamination that are currently violating water quality standards at all 14 of its coal-fired power plants in North Carolina.
The ruling comes in the wake of recent claims by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that it lacks the legal authority to require cleanup of the ash ponds which hold millions of gallons of toxic coal ash. DENR’s comments were made in response to the February 2014 coal ash spill that dumped up to 35,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River.
“The ruling leaves no doubt, Duke Energy is past due on its obligation to eliminate the sources of groundwater contamination, its unlined coal ash pits, and the State has both the authority and a duty to require action now,” said D.J. Gerken, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represented the conservation groups in the case. “This ruling enforces a common-sense requirement in existing law – before you can clean up contaminated groundwater, you first must stop the source of the contamination- in this case, Duke’s unlined coal ash pits.”
Data collected by DENR over several years indicates that many of Duke’s coal-fired power plants are causing groundwater contamination by storing hazardous coal ash in unlined pits often adjacent to major bodies of water, including drinking water reservoirs. The state has asserted however that it can take no action without first determining how far contamination has spread and that it lacks the legal power to require Duke to remove ash from the ponds. Today’s ruling clarifies the State’s authority under the North Carolina groundwater protection law to require Duke to stop the ponds from further contaminating groundwater, before it tackles the long term challenge of cleaning up the groundwater it has already polluted.
By Bruce Henderson/Charlotte Observer
February 25, 2014
Gov. Pat McCrory told Duke Energy on Tuesday that he wants its coal ash ponds statewide moved away from drinking-water sources.
McCrory and environment Secretary John Skvarla wrote Duke CEO Lynn Good that “as a state we will not stand by while coal ash ponds remain a danger due to their proximity to where so many North Carolinians get their drinking water.”
The governor, a former Duke Energy executive, and other state officials have been under political pressure to crack down on Duke’s ash since a Feb. 2 spill into the Dan River gained national attention.
Protesters gathered outside Duke’s Charlotte headquarters Tuesday chanting “Shame!” as they delivered petitions signed by 9,000 people demanding ash be removed from near waterways.
McCrory’s letter, reported by Raleigh’s WRAL.com, expresses “our primary desire that coal ash ponds be moved away from these essential resources.”
It demands that Duke supply options, costs and other details about its ash ponds to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources by March 15.
A lawyer for environmental advocates who have battled Duke and DENR over ash remained skeptical of McCrory’s commitment.
“I think it’s good the governor is reacting finally and is communicating with the CEO of Duke Energy, but given everything that’s happened, actions speak louder than words,” said Frank Holleman, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “He says they’re not going to stand for it anymore, but if you’re not going to stand for it any more, clean up the mess.”
Holleman said McCrory and DENR could go to court to order Duke to clean out the ash ponds. The ponds are scattered at 14 operating and retired power plants statewide.
The environment department, meanwhile, said separately Tuesday that it might force Duke to remove the coal ash from the Dan River power plant that was the scene of the spill.
Read full article here
If links are broken, please let us know. Click ‘contact us’ at the bottom of the page.
Click here to be redirected to our page dedicated to the latest news on the Dan River coal ash spill
This post was originally published on February 14, 2014 on Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s Footprints blog and is reposted here with permission.
While old-fashioned romance might go over well with your sweetie this Valentine’s day, old-fashioned coal ash dumps scattered across the Southeast need to go. The recent Dan River coal ash spill once again proved that leaving millions of gallons of toxic waste in unlined pits next to our rivers, lakes and streams is no way to show love for the precious water resources we all depend on.
Six days after it started, Duke Energy finally stopped the flow of toxic coal ash to the Dan River. Their temporary fix plugged the leaking pipe and redirects ash and wastewater from the river, though a permanent fix has yet to be found and the Waterkeeper Alliance has identified other leaks onsite. In the aftermath of the nation’s 3rd largest coal ash disaster, the State of North Carolina has quickly been outed for their cozy relationship with Duke Energy, their shortcomings resulting in and reacting to this spill.
Consistent national attention and local outrage about this disaster led to multiple developments this week including a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Attorney General’s office investigating criminal negligence in the creation and handling of this epic event. Additionally, NC DENR has now asked a state judge to put a hold to their “sweetheart” settlement with Duke Energy and create a task force to review the state’s coal ash facilities at all 14 of Duke Energy’s NC power plants. Every day there continue to be new developments with the spill, check out our dedicated page for the latest news and updates.
This blog was originally published by Southern Alliance for Clean Energy here.
Four days after the Southeast’s most recent coal ash disaster began, Duke Energy has yet to stop coal ash flowing into the Dan River. The impoundment failure is now the nation’s 3rd worst coal ash disaster and 13 additional Duke Energy power plants lurk across the state with old ash impoundments, already cited in lawsuits as problematic. The murky grey plume of toxic waste continues to travel downstream and is now entering Danville, VA’s drinking water intake. Officials there continue to say the water is safe to drink despite the lack of lab results from NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) testing for toxic heavy metals in the contaminated river or the drinking water itself.
Test results from Waterkeeper Alliance are due out momentarily and will show that heavy metal levels are significantly higher than drinking water standards allow. Samples were taken just downstream of the spill. Since the spill began, both Duke Energy and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources have been slow to update the public on developments. Groups on the ground now tell us the utility may be trying to block public access to the river near the coal ash spill.
Since the 2008 Kingston coal ash disaster we have often asked “when and where will it happen again”? On Monday, February 3, 2014 we got an unfortunate answer when a stormwater pipe (that Duke apparently didn’t know was there) burst beneath a coal ash impoundment at Duke Energy’s retired Dan River Power Station near Eden, North Carolina. Duke Energy estimates that between 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 27 million gallons of wastewater have run into the Dan River.
That amount of ash is enough to fill 20-32 Olympic-sized swimming pools, for comparison the Kingston TVA disaster dumped over 1 billion gallons of ash into the Clinch and Emory Rivers. Here you can find an index of current information on the disaster, which ranks as the third largest coal ash spill in US history.
Two days after this latest coal ash spill, many questions are still unanswered and we call on Duke Energy to immediately address these concerns and follow the lead of their South Carolina counterparts to move away from antiquated, dangerous coal ash disposal practices. Both Duke and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have failed to release a definitive update on the spill’s status or give adequate notice to downstream communities that may be affected. Duke didn’t notify the public for 26 hours after the spill was discovered and communities downstream are still not being told of the risk of heavy metals in drinking water.
Six miles downstream, Danville, Virginia draws its drinking water from the Dan River and while officials there have stated they have treated drinking water for ash contamination, no details of the treatment have been released to the public.
February 4, 2014
John Downey/Charlotte Business Journal
Duke Energy Carolinas says a burst stormwater pipe at the shuttered Dan River Steam Station has spilled an undetermined amount of coal ash into the Dan River.
N.C. officials say it is not yet known whether the Sunday spill represents any safety hazard to the public. Duke (NYSE: DUK) reported late Monday that engineers have had some success stemming the flow from an ash pond at the station.
Duke said a temporary plug periodically mitigated the leakage into the Dan River throughout Monday, and a team continues to work on a solution to completely stop the release.
The company estimates 50,000 to 82,000 tons of ash has been released to the river as a result of a break in a 48-inch stormwater pipe at the power plant. This volume of ash would fill between 20 and 32 Olympic-size swimming pools.
The company is also estimating between 24 to 27 million gallons of basin water has reached the river. The release is visible several miles downstream and crews continue to track and monitor it and Duke says downstream municipal water supplies remain unaffected.
‘Latest, loudest alarm’
Environmental groups — including Appalachian Voices, the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Dan River Basin Association — have been pressing for Duke to remove the ash from earthen basins such as the one at Dan River.
“This is the latest, loudest alarm bell yet that Duke should not be storing coal ash in antiquated pits near our state’s waterways,” says Frank Holleman, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.
He noted that two South Carolina utilities have taken steps to remove coal ash from earthen ponds and called Duke “grossly negligent” for not doing the same.
Read the full article here.
If links are broken, please let us know. Click ‘contact us’ on the bottom of the page
February 3, 2014
By Bruce Henderson/Charlotte Observer
Duke Energy said Monday that an unknown amount of coal ash was released from a pond at its retired Dan River power plant in Eden into the Dan River.
Duke said a stormwater pipe beneath the ash pond broke Sunday afternoon. Water from the 27-acre pond drained into the stormwater pipe. A team is still trying to stop the flow from the pipe, Duke said Monday afternoon.
“Engineers are working to estimate the volume of water and ash that reached the river, and the company will provide that detail when it is confirmed,” Duke said in a release.
Duke said it has dispatched a team to monitor the river’s water quality. Coal ash contains metals that can be toxic in high concentrations.
State environmental officials are performing a site inspection, Duke said. “Local emergency managers were notified as a precaution, and downstream municipal water supplies remain unaffected,” it said.
Neither Duke nor state environmental officials could be immediately reached by the Observer.
The pond’s dam beside the river “remains secure,” Duke said. Some erosion has occurred on the side of a berm farthest from the river, it said, and engineers are working to stabilize it.
The Dan River plant was retired in 2012, so the level of ash and water in the pond was a lower level, Duke said.
Read the full article here
If link is broken, let us know. Click ‘contact us’ at the bottom of the page
This press release was originally published here by Earthjustice
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Environmental Protection Agency will finalize first-ever federal regulations for the disposal of coal ash by December 19, 2014, according to a settlement in a lawsuit brought by environmental and public health groups and a Native American tribe. The settlement does not dictate the content of the final regulation, but it confirms that the agency will finalize a rule by a date certain after years of delay.
The settlement is in response to a lawsuit brought in 2012 by Earthjustice on behalf of Appalachian Voices (NC); Chesapeake Climate Action Network (MD); Environmental Integrity Project (D.C., PA); Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KY); Moapa Band of Paiutes (NV); Montana Environmental Information Center (MT); Physicians for Social Responsibility (DC); Prairie Rivers Network (IL); Sierra Club (CA); Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (eight southeast states); and Western North Carolina Alliance (NC).
In October, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the EPA has a mandatory duty to review and revise its waste regulations under the Resource and Conservation Recovery Act. The EPA has never finalized any federal regulations for the disposal of coal ash—the nation’s second largest industrial waste stream.
Taking overdue action to safeguard communities from coal ash was the first promise the Obama Administration made to the American public. Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson vowed to finalize coal ash regulations following a spill in Kingston, TN, where over a billion gallons of coal ash burst through a dam and damaged or destroyed two dozen homes and 300 acres of riverfront property. In the aftermath of that disaster, the EPA proposed various regulatory options in May 2010 and held seven public hearings in August and September of that year. Environmental and public health groups, community organizations, Native American tribes and others generated more than 450,000 public comments on EPA’s proposed regulation, calling for the strongest protections under the law. But since then, despite coal ash contamination at more than 200 sites nationwide, the agency has failed to finalize the protections under pressure from industry, the White House and some members of Congress.
View a timeline of coal ash events from the TVA spill to today’s settlement.
This op-ed was originally published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on January 24, 2014, read the original post here.
Duke Energy is again misleading the public about ongoing coal ash pollution from its power plants. In response to recent petitions by WNCA and others to intervene in the state’s lawsuits against Duke for illegal surface and groundwater pollution at multiple plants, including the Cliffside plant in Rutherford County, Duke said we “rely on emotion, not facts.” [Jan. 16, AC-T] Well, if that’s true for us, then it’s also true for the state, since our petitions to intervene rely on the same set of facts in the state’s underlying lawsuits.
Duke also implies that WNCA is benefiting financially at the expense of Duke customers. To be clear, WNCA has not launched any fundraising campaigns around our coal ash advocacy and we won’t receive any funds from the resolution of these lawsuits. Has our work attracted new members? Quite likely, because citizens share our concern for the health of this region’s rivers and support our efforts to be a watchdog in the state’s lawsuits against Duke. And if Duke incurs costs, as it likely will, in addressing its pollution, well, that seems only fair. Who else should pay?
Coal ash pollution is real and Duke is responsible. An attack campaign that misdirects the public won’t make that truth go away.
Julie Mayfield, Asheville
Mayfield is co-director of the Western North Carolina Alliance.
Coal Ash Google News RSS Feed
[lexi:1024,https://news.google.com/news/feeds?hl=en&tok=Tdt6nxvorI2B3wBPPnv-Pw&ds=n&pq=coal%2Bash%2C%2Bcoal%2Bcombustion%2Bresiduals&cp=8&gs_id=a&xhr=t&q=coal%2Bash&gl=us&bav=on.2%2Cor.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&biw=1053&bih=779&bs=1&um=1&ie=UTF-8&output=rss,Current Coal Ash News - Live Feed,5]
9/15/2010- 60 Minutes Video: 130 Million Tons of Waste