* 4,938 to 1 Oppose Duke Energy’s coal-ash settlement with NC DENR

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I wanted to thank everyone who has taken action to improve the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) proposed settlement with Duke Energy. Pollutants from Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds (which hold the waste leftover after coal has been burned for energy) have been leaking into our waterways and groundwater for years in North Carolina. In July, DENR announced a proposed settlement with Duke Energy regarding this dangerous problem. This bad proposal, however, does nothing to clean up the pollution—it only forces Duke Energy to study it.

Now for the good news: concerned community members like you submitted nearly 5,000 comments about the proposed settlement to DENR! The department has 30 days to consider the comments and prepare a response—then they will determine whether or not they’ll make changes to the proposed settlement in light of what they have read. Not only were we successful in showing DENR that the public will only accept a proposal that forces Duke Energy to clean up their pollution, but the groups represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center also became formal parties to the final settlement—this may give them the chance to improve the final agreement between Duke and DENR.

I hope that DENR will listen to thousands of concerned community members, do the right thing, and tell Duke Energy to stop delaying the cleanup. Be sure to read these two reports about the settlement.

Thanks again for all that you do to preserve and protect the environment. We are making a difference!

Thousands say no to Duke Energy’s coal-ash settlement

Public sentiment is heavily against a proposed settlement of coal-ash lawsuits filed by North Carolina environmental regulators against Duke Energy.

In a settlement proposed in July, Duke agreed to assess the sources and extent of contamination and pay a $99,000 fine. A Wake County Superior Court judge will rule on the proposal once it’s presented in final form.

“We are frankly dismayed and perplexed that DENR would support such an ineffectual and meaningless settlement,” wrote a Charlotte couple who live on Mountain Island Lake.

Added another lake resident: “Leaving the coal ash where it is simply invites a disaster for the health of all those who rely on Mountain Island Lake for drinking water, let alone the environmental impact and harm to the marine and plant life.”

Read the full story at: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/08/27/4268253/thousands-say-no-to-duke-coal.html

Conservation Groups File To Intervene In State Lawsuit Against Duke Over Coal Ash Pollution

A coalition of local conservation groups could soon be part of North Carolina’s lawsuit against Duke / Progress Energy.

In an action filed earlier this month, the state says the utility giant illegally contaminated groundwater at its Sutton coal-fired plant, just outside of Wilmington.  The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the request to intervene yesterday – in order for Cape Fear River Watch, the Sierra Club, and the Waterkeeper Alliance to have a seat at the table.

Duke Energy is now facing legal action concerning every one of its 14 coal-fired plants in North Carolina – including the Sutton Plant near Wilmington.   The Southern Environmental Law Center has successfully intervened in two other suits concerning coal ash pollution near Asheville and Charlotte-area facilities.

Frank Holleman is a Senior Attorney representing the conservation groups.

“We want to intervene to be sure that there are independent citizens’ groups that are at the table pushing to clean up the coal ash pollution of the water resources of the Wilmington area that have been caused at the Sutton Plant.”

Read the full story at: http://whqr.org/post/conservation-groups-file-intervene-state-lawsuit-against-duke-over-coal-ash-pollution

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