Thank goodness the Southern Environmental Law Center is on the job.
Conservation groups today asked the N.C. Environmental Management Commission to require Progress Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Carolinas to clean up groundwater contaminated by old, unlined coal ash lagoons at 14 coal-fired power plants that have been leaking toxic substances for decades. Coal ash is the toxic waste that remains after coal is burned. The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the complaint with the EMC on behalf of the Cape Fear River Watch, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Western North Carolina Alliance.
“It’s irresponsible to North Carolina’s families that utilities know coal ash slurry is seeping poisons into groundwater and rivers without cleaning it up,” said DJ Gerken, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represents the groups in today’s filing.
Self-monitoring by Progress Energy Carolinas confirms that contamination around its coal ash waste ponds at its Asheville and L. V. Sutton facilities exceeded state standards for groundwater quality. Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas’ own reporting also confirms contamination at 12 other facilities across the state. Despite the acknowledged contamination, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources has not required the utilities to cleanup these sites. Today’s filing asks the state to take decisive action to protect North Carolina’s residents.