Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League~NC WARN~ Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump~EnvironmentaLEE


May 19, 2015

Therese Vick- (919) 345-3673
John Runkle- (919) 942-0600    

Groups Urge North Carolina Department Of Environment And Natural Resources To Nix Duke Energy’s Coal Ash Plans

Raleigh- Citing incomplete information, flouting of state law, ignoring public health and environmental justice concerns, and lack of compliance reviews mandated by state law, four environmental groups urged the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to deny Duke Energy’s plan to dump up to 20 million tons of dangerous coal ash in Lee and Chatham Counties.  Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), NC WARN, Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump and EnvironmentaLEE filed the comments with DENR as the comment period closed.  

BREDL organizer Therese Vick pointed out that, “We have given DENR substantial and sufficient reason to deny the permits. Now it is time for them to do their job.” John Runkle, Attorney for NC WARN recommended that the permit application be denied due to “…significant and adverse impacts on drinking water, wildlife, air quality and dust, surface and groundwater, public housing, neighboring residences and facilities and recreation, and the potential for substantial deposits of toxic sediment instreams.”  

The comment package included a letter from Dr. G. Fred Lee, world-renowned expert on landfilling and its impacts on the environment. ( Lee’s five-page document closed with, “Overall, based on our expertise and professional experience, we strongly recommend that the state of North Carolina not proceed with permitting of coal combustion ash disposal in Subtitle D landfills in clay mines because such wastes will eventually lead to groundwater pollution by the waste-associated components.”  

The hundreds of pages of comments included the results of community surveys done in the areas surrounding the Brickhaven site in Chatham County, and the Colon Site in Lee County. In addition, daycares in Lee County were contacted. Some of the child-care facilities are mere yards from railroad tracks that could carry thousands of rail-cars full of toxic coal ash.  

Sanford Pediatrics also voiced their concerns about the plan, "No one on our staff can claim to be expert toxicologists, but we know a threat to our patients when we see one. Sanford Pediatrics hereby goes on record as being strongly opposed to the planned deposit of coal ash in Clay mines in Lee County."  

NC WARN is a member based non-profit which monitors Duke Energy’s practices and is working for a swift North Carolina transition to energy efficiency and clean power generation.The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League was founded in 1984. The organization has a thirty-year track record of victories over polluting facilities. EnvironmentaLEE and Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump are chapters of BREDL.