Legal case begins against coal ash dumps in Chatham, Lee counties | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Legal case begins against coal ash dumps in Chatham, Lee counties

Posted by on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 10:38 AM

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE N.C. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
  • Photo courtesy of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality

Two days after Thanksgiving, with plans for coal-ash dumping underway in abandoned brick mines in rural Chatham and Lee counties, community advocates made their last plea for a little holiday charity from Duke Energy.

“The solution to the coal ash problem is not spreading the contamination to other sites,” wrote Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League executive director Louis Zeller in a “cease-and-desist” letter to Duke CEO Lynn Good. “Duke Energy has already polluted far too many North Carolina communities.”

Cue the crickets. Now, without voluntary action from Duke and its contractors, environmentalists will have to pin their hopes on the courts. Legal arguments began this week in BREDL’s challenge to coal-ash permits issued by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

The groups are currently arguing to the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings that North Carolina regulators exceeded their authority, “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” and generally failed to do their job in issuing permits this summer for dumping up to 20 million tons of coal ash in Chatham and Lee.

Given that state law—passed last year following the 39,000-ton ash spill in Eden’s Dan River—requires Duke to find some place to stash about 100 million tons stored at its most “high-risk” facilities in the next 15 years, it’s likely just the beginning of Duke’s disposal plans. And the ensuing controversy.

In BREDL’s petition, the group claims the state permits “would have a significant and adverse impact on the health and well-being of the members of the petitioners, and on their families, the use and enjoyment of their property, the value of their property and other economic interests.”

By referring to the “adverse impact” on health, they’re likely alluding to the presence of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, selenium and cadmium found in coal ash. Duke, however, has argued, time and again that the transport and disposal will be handled safely in Chatham and Lee.

Never mind—as BREDL lawyers point out—that the energy giant’s dumping contractors, Charah Inc. and Green Meadow LLC, already violated state regulations in Chatham in June, beginning land-clearing activities without the necessary permit.

And the DEQ sanctioned Duke for more missteps last week, when inspectors noted the company had failed to take the proper erosion-control steps and failed to notify the state in time at a coal-ash dumping ground in Asheville.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

I live in Durham NC. We have a large growth in the last 6 years. The city have really gotten …

by Margaret Houston on Section 8 Voucher Holders Are Having a Hard Time Finding Housing in Durham (News)

@ Hunter23 "A combination of investors and loans" is not specific, and nowhere in the article is the phrase "private …

by RJO_III on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

Most Recent Comments

I live in Durham NC. We have a large growth in the last 6 years. The city have really gotten …

by Margaret Houston on Section 8 Voucher Holders Are Having a Hard Time Finding Housing in Durham (News)

@ Hunter23 "A combination of investors and loans" is not specific, and nowhere in the article is the phrase "private …

by RJO_III on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

The article clearly states the building would be privately funded with the state/local gov pitching in for infrastructure enhancement. The …

by Hunter23 on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

I truly admire the passion and support the message. But it seems standing on an overpass during rush hour traffic …

by Diane Alenezi on High Above I-40, Protesters Call for "Health Care 4 All" (News)

This will turn the Mordecai neighborhood & surrounding neighborhoods (one of the only places in downtown Raleigh with any character …

by RJO_III on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation