Coal Ash Wednesday: Smoke in the Water

SELC's Derb Carter pulls no punches in New York Times op-ed:

With a governor, Pat McCrory, who was employed by Duke for 28 years, and a Legislature rife with members who have accepted contributions from Duke and other energy companies throughout their careers, it’s no surprise that our state government has shown little interest in forcing Duke to clean up the mess it has made of our state.

In fact, even as North Carolina faces the worst threat to its waterways in a generation, state politicians have started a process to eliminate dozens of environmental protections that have kept our water safe and clean for decades.

The negligence and outright intentional destruction of public health safeguards is staggering, and they continue to probe for other damage they might cause in their anti-regulatory fervor. But it isn't just ignorance driving their behavior, ALEC and the Koch Brothers are determined to make North Carolina their model of irresponsibility:

Worst of all is the fact that threats to longstanding environmental protections won’t stop here. North Carolina has become a bellwether — a “purple” state where, most especially in an election year, all eyes turn to see which way the political winds are blowing. All too often, one state’s radical experiment can become a national wave, and if politicians succeed in gutting the traditional safeguards on our air and water, you can be sure that North Carolina will not be the last state to do so.

We have a chance right now to get this right: The North Carolina Legislature just went back into session, and it is debating a series of bills related to Duke’s coal ash pits. We all know Duke needs to clean up its mess — but that’s not enough anymore. North Carolina families, and people around the country, must speak up, because we can’t allow Governor McCrory and the State Legislature to rob our state of the protections we rely on to keep our drinking water safe and clean.

Now more than ever we need a Conservation Caucus in the Legislature. The recent fracking fast-track bill had a handful of Democrats vote for it and a handful of Republicans oppose it, opening the way (in my mind, anyway) for a bi-partisan movement to protect our air and water.

I've talked with a few lawmakers about this in the last couple of years, and was told we should wait and see how elections pan out. Well, they've panned out, and now it's time to at least try for some consensus.


Piling on

Fracking exacerbates the problem. Not only is it more water pollution, which can be severe and long-lasting, it uses (wastes) tremendous amounts of water, of which we don't have a spare supply.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014