Protest today at Duke Energy in Charlotte over coal ash threat

Be there if you can:

Charlotte Environmental Action said the activists will gather at noon outside the headquarters, on Church and Stonewall streets, to protest the leakage from a Duke Energy coal ash pond into the Dan River in northern North Carolina. The river supplies drinking water for Danville, Va.

The group says a coal ash lagoon at Duke’s former plant near Mountain Island Lake is a threat to that impoundment, which supplies drinking water for Charlotte and other communities. Duke Energy officials have said they plan to clean the site and that the lagoon is not a threat to the lake.

Duke Energy has been sitting on its hands for years on this issue, and it will continue to do so as long as the state leaves environmental stewardship up to the largesse of polluters. They're simply not going to spend the money unless forced to, and that force won't come to bear in the absence of public outrage.


Just saw a live feed of the protest

Quite a few people there, and they have drums. Kind of hard to ignore drums.

Waterkeeper Alliance testing differs from Skvarla's testing

While the state tells us that heavy metals in the Dan River "mostly" don't exceed standards, the Waterkeeper Alliance did their own testing close to the spill site found quite different results.

Waterkeeper’s testing found an arsenic concentration in the polluted water immediately below the discharge of .349 mg/L. Arsenic is a toxic metal commonly found in coal ash and is lethal in high concentrations. The .349 mg/L concentration found in Waterkeeper’s sample is greater than EPA’s water quality criterion for protection of fish and wildlife from acute risks of injury or death. It is more than twice as high as EPA’s chronic exposure criterion for fish and wildlife, and is almost 35 times greater than the maximum contaminant level (MCL) standard that EPA considers acceptable in drinking water.

Waterkeeper Alliance also found a lead concentration in the polluted water of 0.129 mg/L. Lead is another metal commonly found in toxic coal ash. Lead poisoning can cause developmental delays and permanent damage in exposed infants and children, as well as kidney damage and high blood pressure in adults. In very high doses, lead poisoning can cause death. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, lead poisoning in the blood causes damage to many systems in the human body, and that damage can arise after periods of exposure as short as days if the level of exposure is acute. The 0.129 mg/L concentration found immediately downstream of Duke Energy’s coal ash spill is more than double the EPA’s water quality criterion for protection of fish and wildlife from acute risks of injury or death. It is about 50 times greater than EPA’s chronic exposure criterion for fish and wildlife, and more than 1,000 times greater than EPA’s recommended action level to prevent contamination of drinking water.

"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