Coal Ash

Environment
12:57 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Coal Ash Concerns, Lack Of Enforcement Revealed In Emails

On February 2, between 50,000 and 82,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of ash pond water waste were released at Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Station (pictured above) north of Eden, N.C.
Credit Steven Alexander / USFWS

Internal emails released this week reveal that officials with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have been concerned about coal ash ponds at Duke Energy sites for years.

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) obtained the documents as part of its effort to close coal ash ponds throughout the state. The roughly 400 pages of emails reveal employees at the state agency were concerned about storm water runoff at six sites owned by Duke Energy.

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Environment
5:00 am
Sat March 1, 2014

NC Coal Ash Disaster Discussed On Diane Rehm Show

Diane Rehm
Credit Glogau Photography

Did you miss it? The Diane Rehm Show devoted an episode earlier this week to the coal ash spill in Eden, NC.

(The spill was caused by a pipe failure at a Duke Energy location. Coal ash is leftover from the process of burning coal. The ash is considered toxic, and is held in ponds. This spill is the third largest of its kind in U.S. history.)

This was an interesting part of the show, between Frank Holleman of the Southern Environmental Law Center and Diane Rehm:

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Environment
12:02 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Were There Any Changes In Coal Ash Clean-Up After Other Disasters In The U.S.?

The cleanup for the 2008 Tennessee coal ash disaster. Image taken March 2012.
Credit Appalachian Voices / via Creative Commons/Flickr

At least 30,000 tons of coal ash poured through a broken Duke Energy stormwater pipe and into the Dan River earlier this month. The spill is the third largest of its kind in US history.

But that spill was much smaller than an accident in Tennessee six years ago.

It was the middle of the night, three days before Christmas in 2008 when part of a retention wall at a Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash pond ruptured.  A dike failed and millions of gallons of potentially toxic waste were unleashed.

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Environment
12:55 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Governor 'Using Words, Not Actions' With Duke Energy

Governor Pat McCrory
Credit Hal Goodtree / Creative Commons/Flickr

Governor Pat McCrory has sent a letter to Duke Energy’s CEO asking the company to remove coal ash from sites near waterways. In the letter McCrory says his administration has expressed its primary desire that coal ash ponds be moved away from waterways.

“This is a good development but we’re still dealing with words and not actions,” said Frank Holleman is senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.”

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Environment
8:17 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Day 23 In Coal Ash: Drones; Settlements And Compelling Removal

Wake Forest grad student Max Messinger with the unmanned aerial vehicle he flew over a coal ash pond.
Credit Jeff Tiberii

Officials with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced Tuesday they might require Duke Energy to remove all coal ash at the site of a massive spill near the Virginia border.

DENR sent a letter to Duke this week, three weeks after the largest spill of its kind in U.S. history. In the letter the state agency informed the utility it’s considering changes to a permit that regulates how much pollutants the company can legally release into the river. The possible change does not apply to the company’s 29 other unlined coal ash ponds.

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Environment
3:57 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

NC's Coal Ash Disaster, By The Numbers

Sample screen of the Dan River coal ash spill timeline
Credit NC Health News

Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal for energy. The ash, which is filled with toxins, is collected in ponds around the state. A pipe running under one of a ponds run by Duke Energy in Eden NC ruptured in February of 2014. The coal ash spilled, affecting the Dan River. The spill is the third largest of its kind in U.S. history.

How much coal ash was disbursed into the Dan River?

Between 30,0000 tons and 39,000 tons

How much will it cost to clean up the ash per river mile?

1 million dollars per mile

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The State of Things
12:29 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Dan River Fish Tested After Coal Ash Spill

The Dan River bank with residual dark grey coal ash.
Credit Steven Alexander / USFWS

WUNC's Greensboro Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii discusses new developments with Duke Energy's coal ash spill

  

This week, the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, DENR, is testing fish tissue in the Dan River for contamination from the Duke Energy coal ash spill earlier this month.  The Southern Environmental Law Center claims they warned Duke Energy and DENR of a potential spill last year. 

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Environment
7:02 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Coal Ash Lawsuits: A History

The Dan River bank with residual dark grey coal ash.
Credit Steven Alexander / USFWS

 

Earlier this month a stormwater pipe running under a coal ash pond in Eden ruptured. It did the following:

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Coal Ash
1:43 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

WUNC's Greensboro Bureau Chief Talks Coal Ash With MSNBC's Rachel Maddow

Jeff Tiberii reports on coal ash spill on MSNBC 2/19/14

"Behold the frog that I am more worried than any other frog in any other place in the world."

Last night, Rachel Maddow began a segment on her MSNBC television program focusing on a little frog that can be seen in a pipe. (Officials have fed a camera into a pipe under a coal ash dump in Eden North Carolina to see if it was leaking.)

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The State of Things
12:28 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Federal Prosecutors Subpoena State Agency Employees

A federal investigation into Duke Energy’s coal ash spill expanded this week to include more employees of the state’s Department of Energy and Natural Resources. The agency’s head, Secretary John Skvarla, defended their work and their relationship with Duke Energy. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC reporter Jeff Tiberii about the legal case and on-going debate about the clean-up.

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