“It is ridiculous that a private environmental organization can find this discharge and confirm it contains coal ash before federal and state officials can,” she says. “There is no excuse for DENR to allow Duke to continue to put toxins in the Dan River.”
“They tried to keep us from being full parties in the case,” said Frank Holleman, a senior attorney for the law center. “Duke is the lawbreaker. DENR is the law enforcement agency. They are supposed to be protecting the people. Instead, they are working with the lawbreaker to find a way to limit the participation of the citizens groups in the law enforcement proceedings in the way that will benefit the lawbreaker. It’s astonishing.”
Nearly every major river in the Southeast has one or more lagoons on its banks holding slurries of coal ash from power plants. Containing hundreds of thousands of tons of toxin-laden waste, these pools are often unlined and have leaked arsenic, mercury, thallium, selenium, and other contaminants into the rivers and the underlying groundwater for years, if not decades. A report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that unlined coal combustion waste ponds pose a cancer risk 900 times above acceptable levels.
It’s time to get to the root of why our state could have such a terrible disaster as the coal ash disaster here in North Carolina and Virginia. There is no time to waste. Contaminated coal ash is steadily being carried downstream into the Roanoke River Basin, into Kerr and Gaston Lakes. Catching a ride in the currents, the coal ash settles down in pockets and turns, around rocks where the water slows, and then the coal ash sludge lies there waiting to be stirred up by a forceful current, waiting to catch a ride weeks, months, years, decades from now, carrying the promise of poison downstream and up a toxic food chain and into our bloodstreams.
Of Duke Energy’s Pres./CEO Lynn Good: As the person who “led the treasury functions for the company, as well as insurance, market and credit risk management, and corporate financial planning and analysis,” Ms. Good’s failure of leadership will cost Duke shareholders, customers and North Carolina citizens billions.
The buck stops with Ms. Good. She needs to step down as Duke’s President and CEO. Her culpability in the coal ash disaster is no different than Bernie Madoff whose stole billions from shareholders and who ended up in jail.
But Duke Energy’s days of wanton criminal negligence and the state and the EPA ’s corporate-friendly blessings are over. The coal ash disaster has ended the dirty shroud. Governor Coal Ash McCrory, DENR Czar Skvarla, and Duke Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Lynn (Genghis Khan) Good — and their licenses to decimate — have been revoked by a growing public sentiment that is enraged at the coal ash disaster and that demands reclamation now.