As the 2014 session of the NC General Assembly heads into its final days, one major environmental bill remains in the balance — one that will succeed, or fall short, of addressing the coal ash crisis in our state.
As the House takes up S. 729, “Coal Ash Management Act of 2014”, there is critically important issue remains to be addressed in the coal ash bill. We need you take action today.
The February coal ash spill into the Dan River was the third largest in our nation’s history. The spill highlighted the dangerous practice of storing 103 million tons of toxic coal ash in unlined pits next to our state’s waterways– and to end that practice requires the legislature’s attention, action and leadership.
The Senate has acted. S 729 “Coal Ash Management Act of 2014”, was approved unanimously last week. It goes a long way towards addressing the pollution entering our waterways and groundwater from Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds in the state.
But it has one serious shortcoming.
The Senate’s bill does not adequately ensure that all coal ash ponds, including those categorized as “low risk”, will permanently isolate coal ash from water to prevent further water pollution. Coal ash contains toxic heavy metals that are water soluble and at every coal ash site in NC these chemicals are leaking into groundwater supplies. A proposed solution called “capping in place”, which leaves the coal ash in the ground with a landfill liner on top, can still lead to polluting ground and surface water.
The NC House will take up the coal ash bill at any time now.
Please contact your House Representative today. Ask that clear criteria be established that would make sure that alternative closure methods selected for all 33 sites would only be allowed if Duke Energy could stop the water pollution from coal ash.
Click here to contact your representative today!
Thanks for standing up for clean water,
Lead Organizer for the NC Sierra Club
P.S. – This bill could move quickly, please send your message today! We need your state House Representative to know that without permanent separation of coal ash and ground water, covering coal ash pits is not a solution.