Day 55: Uranium Mining: Tulane Environmental Law Clinic

Day 55: Uranium Mining: Tulane Environmental Law Clinic

The public knows that extreme weather events, while they are inevitable dangers, are just some of the reasons why uranium mining in Virginia is unacceptable. The public also knows that there is no technology that can contain radioactive emissions and contamination in perpetuity, but what the public doesn’t know is that radioactive exposures are inevitable because the regulations that govern uranium mining are based on the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) standard, which allows for and legalizes radioactive contamination. So, the focus of my presentation was on the fact that containment is impossible, radioactive contamination, even at low levels is dangerous, and according to uranium mining guidelines, radioactive waste could likely be buried at the Coles Hill site.

Day 49: “Regulatory Favoritism in North Carolina”

Day 49: “Regulatory Favoritism in North Carolina”

“North Carolina citizens have good reason to wonder just whom their environmental regulators are trying to protect. The state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has engaged in a series of maneuvers that seem designed to protect the state’s largest utility, Duke Energy, from paying big fines for water pollution from coal ash ponds and meeting reasonable requirements that it move toxic coal ash to lined landfills away from rivers and lakes used for drinking water and recreation.”

Blog 48: Could stricter oversight have prevented spill?

Blog 48: Could stricter oversight have prevented spill?

“Our job is making sure all the remediation that can be done, is done,” said Myles Bartos, an “on scene coordinator” for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “We’re not going anywhere for a while.”

But Bartos and a platoon of his fellow officials dodged an important question several in the crowd posed in different ways: It’s great you’re here now, but where were you before it happened and why didn’t you prevent it?

Environmentalists have a ready answer.

“Where were the regulators? They were making things as easy as possible on business and corporations,” said Sam Perkins, a staff member with the Catawba Riverkeeper group that monitors its namesake river system.

Day 47: Second Coal Ash Pipe Leaking

Day 47: Second Coal Ash Pipe Leaking

Associated Press: RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina officials expressed concern late Friday that a second pipe running under a Duke Energy coal ash dump might fail more than a week after a similar pipe collapsed, triggering a massive toxic spill into the Dan River. The state Department of Environmental Resources said video taken inside the 36-inch-wide concrete pipe shows wide gaps between seams through which potentially contaminated water is gushing in from the dump above. “We’re concerned about the leaks we see in the 36-inch pipe and want to prevent a second pipe failure,” said Tracy Davis, director of the state Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources. The agency didn’t provide an estimate for how much liquid from the dump is currently spilling into the river. Officials have given Duke 10 days to come up with a plan to fix the leaks.

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina officials expressed concern late Friday that a second pipe running under a Duke Energy coal ash dump might fail more than a week after a similar pipe collapsed, triggering a massive toxic spill into the Dan River.

The state Department of Environmental Resources said video taken inside the 36-inch-wide concrete pipe shows wide gaps between seams through which potentially contaminated water is gushing in from the dump above.

“We’re concerned about the leaks we see in the 36-inch pipe and want to prevent a second pipe failure,” said Tracy Davis, director of the state Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources.

The agency didn’t provide an estimate for how much liquid from the dump is currently spilling into the river. Officials have given Duke 10 days to come up with a plan to fix the leaks.

Day 46: Institute Index: How cozy are Governor McCrory and Duke Energy?

Day 46: Institute Index: How cozy are Governor McCrory and Duke Energy?

It is day 46 of my 365 Days of Living Deliberately, and, clearly, as federal officials call for an investigation into the Duke Energy coal ash disaster and the state’s response to it, conflicts of interest abound with North Carolina Governor Pat McCroy and Duke Energy. According to the Institute for Southern Studies, (“a non-profit media, research and action center working for a better South”) the conflict of interest has been going on for years. For instance, Governor McCrory worked for Duke Energy for twenty-eight years before he ran for governor.

Day 44: Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into North Carolina’s environmental agency

Day 44: Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into North Carolina’s environmental agency

RALEIGH, N.C. — Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into North Carolina’s environmental agency following a massive coal ash spill on the Dan River. The U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a grand jury subpoena requesting records from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. They include emails, memos and reports from 2010 through the Feb. 2 spill. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the subpoena on Thursday. The spill at a Duke Energy plant in Eden spewed enough toxic ash into the river to fill 72 Olympic-sized pools. It was the third-largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.The order commands the state environmental agency’s chief lawyer to appear next month before the grand jury in Raleigh. Agency spokesman Drew Elliot says the state will cooperate with the federal investigators.