DAG McCrory waffles on moving coal ash away from lakes and rivers

Saying the right thing and doing the right thing are two different things:

Confusion over the state’s ash-pond policy began Monday when McCrory said in an on-campus news conference that Duke Energy must respond to the Dan River incident by “moving the ash ponds,” which environmental groups said Tuesday morning is their fondest desire.

But then, on Tuesday afternoon, McCrory’s press office suggested he did not mean to specify any one preferred method. “Moving the coal ash is one option available at this point, and everything is on the table in order to best protect our people and the environment,” Ryan Tronovitch, McCrory’s deputy director of communications, said in an email.

No doubt McCrory received a heated phone call about the costs of moving these coal ash ponds, and it probably didn't dawn on him to ask the billion-dollar question: "Why did you idiots put these toxic containment ponds right beside our water resources in the first place?" Common sense will tell you Duke Energy did so with the intent to get rid of some of their coal ash using the water to transport it away from the site. There's no other reason (I can think of) to have it so close, but until somebody in the media or the courts asks that question, it won't get answered.

Comments

Another question I've been asking is...

What first year engineering student decided to locate these ponds on top of unrelated drainage pipes running between the plant and the river?

These pipes typically come in four foot sections, so every four feet underneath these ponds lies a pipe joint. These joints fail quite often under normal traffic pressure, so what idiot would ever think it wise to place a structure designed to contain hundreds or thousands of tons of liquid and solid waste.

Somewhere there is an engineer who needs to hand over his or her license.

This problem never should have been built in the first place, but as an old Duke lineman I used to know said, on the day he received his layoff almost twenty years ago, all Duke Energy cares about is the stockholders.

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"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

It's a great question

Those pipes are also rated for the amount of weight distributed across each section, if I'm not mistaken. You can't just pile on thousands of tons on top of them and expect no problems to arise.

Precisely!

Duke, like most other utility companies I've had the misfortune to work with/for over the last 20 years, likes to hire out as much of what they do as possible, not to save money, but in order to have a scapegoat when things go badly.

In this case VERY badly. I fully expect that before this is finished an engineering firm, or a construction firm, or some other contractor somewhere along the chain, will become the scapegoat.

There's a reason why the most common phrase you'll ever hear around any utility contractor's office is 'cover your ass'.

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"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

I wouldn't be surprised if....

...some leakage wasn't part of the original plan...

I wouldn't either

I know it sounds tin-foil-hattish, but every time I see a story about an "accidental" discharge from industry or municipal water treatment plants, I wonder about just how much of an accident it really is.

Duke Energy statement

Duke Energy's CEO made statements about the spill, saying it's "our liability" and saying the company has a three year plan to clean up environmental sites connected with its operations in different states, including moving of coal ash to "dry landfills".

Coal ash special section at the W-S Journal

You might want to bookmark the W-S Journal's site devoted to the coal ash scandal; they're rounding up the latest news from different outlets and doing some in-depth reporting of their own on the story.

Thanks for the link

I'm really glad they're collecting those stories together like that. The N&O has done that with a few issues as well, but I don't think any of their collections are environment-related.

The promising stage has begun....

Coal ash ponds in NC 4 decades but previous GAs have refused to address the issue. We will methodically mitigate the risk to drinking water

@RepMikeHager on Twitter

It is probably a good argument

The litigation and the investigation will have to include what has happened throughout the decades with Duke Power and the coal ash ponds and the piping. They will no doubt argue that since these were put in under different administrations, the only real culpability can be with how the leak was reacted to. And, I can see mitigation that could lessen the impact of culpability here. I'm sure that will be the defense in this. I don't know if it will hold up but that sure would seem to be something that could be presented as a factor in this.

Not defending anything here. Just offering it up for consideration.