DENR

Environment
5:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Day 31 Of The Coal Ash Spill: Eight More Metal Pipes

Credit Steven Alexander / USFWS

State regulators with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) say there are additional metal pipes at Duke Energy coal ash ponds that pose a threat. It was a metal corrugated storm water pipe running under a coal ash pond in Eden that ruptured 31 days ago, setting off the third largest spill of its kind in U-S history. DENR announced today that eight other metal pipes run through retention walls, around coal ash pits, but not under them. These eight serve a different function than the pipe that broke last month. The eight discharge pipes remove surface water from the top of the lagoons once coal ash has settled at the bottom. Duke has previously stated it was unaware of any other metal pipes at its 14 coal-fired power plants.

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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
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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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

  

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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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.

Environment
4:31 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Today In Coal Ash: More Subpoenas, DENR On The Defense

Tom Augspurger (l), USFWS, taking core sample during February 8th reconnaissance of Dan River coal ash spill. (l-r) Tom Augsperger, USFWS, John Fridell, USFWS, Rick Smith, Duke Energy.
Credit Steve Alexander / USFWS

Federal prosecutors have handed out more subpoenas in a criminal investigation stemming from the recent coal ash spill in Eden. The government is seeking documents from 20 current and former employees at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Prosecutors are also calling on those individuals to testify before a grand jury. The subpoenas seek records related to cash, items of value or investments that state employees might have received from Duke.

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Environment
9:07 am
Wed February 19, 2014

DENR To Duke Energy: Stop Using Other Stormwater Pipe

The Dan River was affected by the coal ash spill. It flows through Danville, VA
Credit Jeff Tiberii

State officials with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have told Duke Energy to stop using a stormwater pipe running under a coal ash pond in Eden. (This is a different pipe than the one that ruptured 17 days ago, causing the third largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.) Following that spill at a retire coal fired power plant north of Greensboro, many environmentalists and media members questioned the durability of this second, smaller pipe. Duke has said repeatedly this pipe is structurally sound and water running through it, is clean. DENR tested some water and determined that not to be the case.

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