Review & report on the coal ash records

WRAL has posted the coal ash records released by DENR and they're encouraging folks to review them and report anything they find.

You can browse the full text of most of the documents on If you want to search for terms like "Dan River," "coal ash" or other keywords, enter them in the search box and hit "Enter." Double-click on a file to open it in a new window (you may need to disable your pop-up blocker).

Find anything interesting? Contact our @NCCapitol team by email or via Twitter with the hashtag #coalashdocs to let us know.

Why? Because there are 900 files and 13,000 pages. So having a crowd review these makes sense. We're sure that the folks here at BlueNC are interested and can help.


I wish I had time today

I love research. I don't always like writing about what I've found...but I love the research part.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Getting ready to dig in right now

And just to say it, this is an incredibly cool thing for WRAL to do. Crowdsourcing isn't a new phenom, but paid reporters aren't known for sharing their resources/potential scoops.

This one's an eye-opener:

An e-mail from Duke Energy's attorneys with proposed changes to the settlement agreement, including over 200 rewrites. Many of them require DWR (Division of Water Resources) to answer Duke Energy back within 30 days of whatever report/plan the utility has in mind.

Collusion between Progress & DWQ

What appears to be a proposed agenda for a meeting between Progress Energy employees and DENR staffers, including a discussion of SB 781:

Focus on and explore common high priority interests and issues
Develop options to try and move forward
Develop objective standards that will lead to successful results
Discussion Topics

2. SB 781 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2011
Law is in effect
The requirements / principles of the General Assembly are to reduce regulatory burden, achieve
more cost effective solutions, prohibit implementation or enforcement of polices or guidelines
as rules
, simplify regulations, follow federal analogues.
How can DENR-DWQ and Progress Energy work together more effectively to realize the
requirements and intent of SB 781?

Bolding mine. Not sure what kind of access to regulators the utilities have had in the past, but this seems to border on lobbying. Or even worse, direct control of government officials by private industry.

Goin' blind here

I'm not a cloud-dweller. I get lost in the cloud, walking in circles (I've opened the same document several times). This is not nearly as fun as I'd imagined...

WRAL: Duke, DENR kept secretl impacts of coal ash dam breaches

The search through the documents has turned up info that Duke Energy worked with the DENR to keep certain documents out of the public record - specifically "Emergency Action Plans" that showed the potential impacts of coal ash spills. EAPs were public up until February 2012, when they were made private through a statutory exemption on terrorism threats.

Months later, Duke Energy engineers held a conference call to discuss the issue, with a specific focus on how the company submitted its EAPs.

"We understand you are awaiting consultation from your legal counsel to develop a submittal process for such exemptions to maintain confidentiality," Duke engineer Tim Russell wrote on Dec. 5, 2011, recapping the call.

Russell added that state regulators had agreed to return mapping files that detailed potential damage from any possible breaches at a hydroelectric plant on the Green River in Henderson County to keep them among Duke's private files rather than in the possession of the state where they might be subject to a public record request.

I found these earlier this evening - you can see them if you do a search for "confidential" or "confidentiality".