Coal Ash Wednesday: Swimming in industry propaganda


Duke Energy hires a professional liar to represent their interests:

Rudo and Duke’s expert, Lisa Bradley, a nationally known expert in coal ash toxicology, also clashed over the chemical element vanadium. They split over whether the state had issued “do not drink” recommendations to dozens of well owners based on vanadium findings less than those people routinely encounter safely in everyday life.

“So you’re getting more in your daily vitamin than you would drinking water at that screening level,” Bradley said of the state’s trigger level for issuing “do not drink” warnings for vanadium found in wells.

That's a frequent tactic of Bradley's; trying to equate contaminated water to daily human consumption of foods and such. She once even brazenly stated (in court, no less) that you could feed children coal ash for breakfast every day and it wouldn't hurt them. She has established a very lucrative career of playing down coal ash contamination across the country, to the detriment of the citizens exposed to it:

And here’s the latest message Pines residents have had to absorb: The most recent studies of the site approved by the EPA find no significant risk to human health from coal ash contamination. This seemingly reassuring news is the word of the consultant overseeing the science in Pines on behalf of the companies. That person also happens to be a leading advocate for the coal ash industry.

At the helm: An advocate for coal ash reuse

Lisa Bradley has managed the environmental investigation in Pines since 2004 as an employee of AECOM, an international consulting giant. AECOM already has a coal ash track record: In 2009 the Inspector General for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the utility responsible for the wet ash disaster in Kingston, accused AECOM of understating the company’s responsibility.

And last year, Lisa Bradley joined the executive committee of the powerful American Coal Ash Association, an association of utilities and marketers in the business of promoting what they call the “beneficial use” of coal ash.

Duke Energy isn't necessarily trying to "win" the debate over groundwater contamination. Not unlike the Climate Change debate, they're just trying to raise enough questions to give themselves some wiggle room. But it's starting to look like DENR is finally catching on to their trickery, and (hopefully) won't be giving credence to the utility's "studies." Film at eleven.