In NC hamlet, residents worry over coal ash ponds (AP) — The sweet tea served in the tidy kitchen of Joanne Thomas' Dukeville antebellum home comes with an ominous warning. "It's made with bottled water," says Thomas, a spry 71-year-old. "But the ice comes from our well." Residents of a North Carolina hamlet adjacent to three massive coal ash dumps at Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station are worried after recent testing by an environmental group suggests their drinking wells could be contaminated. Records obtained by The Associated Press show that Duke and North Carolina environmental regulators have known since 2011 that groundwater samples taken from monitoring wells near several homes in Dukeville contained substances, some that can be toxic, exceeding state standards.
NC community's concerns over coal ash: 5 things to know (AP) -- In the wake of a Feb. 2 coal ash spill near Eden, North Carolina, another town in the state is re-examining the possible effects of living near a coal ash dump. Residents living in some 150 homes near the Buck Steam Station in Dukeville, North Carolina, are worrying about what's in their water — and whether it's affected their health — in the wake of revelations of possible well contamination. Here are five things to know:
Coal ash cleanup bill gets once over from Senate panel (WRAL-TV) -- Senators got their first look Monday at a bill aimed at closing dozens of coal ash ponds across North Carolina in 15 years, and several said more work needs to be done before the proposal is put to a vote.
Duke concerned by coal ash pit closure deadlines (AP) — Duke Energy is expressing concern about proposed legislation requiring the closure of all of its North Carolina coal ash dumps by 2029, a deadline the company says is about half the time it will need.
Senate GOP plan would close NC coal ash ponds by 2029 (Greensboro News & Record) -- Senate leaders want to close all coal ash ponds by 2029. On Monday, Sen. Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) proposed a new version of a coal ash regulation bill that goes beyond what Gov. Pat McCrory recommended earlier this spring. “This legislation represents the most comprehensive and really most far-reaching legislative addressing of the coal ash issue in the country,” said Berger, who hails from Eden, where up to 39,000 tons of coal ash were dumped into the Dan River at a Duke Energy plant. The 44-page bill includes items that Democrats and environmental advocates have wanted — like deadlines for closing ponds and a provision that prevents utilities from passing pollution cleanup costs on to customers.
Senate bill would require Duke to dry out coal ash ponds (Winston-Salem Journal) -- State Senate leaders announced their plan Monday to deal with toxic coal-ash waste dumps owned by Duke Energy that are documented to contaminate groundwater statewide, a month after Gov. Pat McCrory's plan was filed in the Senate. The proposed bill comes four months after Senate’s president pro tempore, Phil Berger of Rockingham County, and Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Hendersonville, said they would protect state waters from contamination such as that caused by the ash spill in the Dan River.
NC Senate Leaders Want Duke Energy To Close Its Coal Ash Ponds Within 15 Years (WUNC-FM) At the North Carolina General Assembly, key members of the Senate will take their first vote today on a coal ash proposal. Lawmakers have been grappling all year with possible contamination from 33 coal ash ponds Duke Energy has across the state. The problem is not new. North Carolina has been accumulating coal ash for most of the past century. Power companies burn coal to generate electricity, cool off the remaining ash with water and then pour it into ponds and keep it there.
Apodaca introduces stricter coal ash bill (Hendersonville Times-News) -- A bill introduced Monday by two Senate leaders would close all unlined coal ash ponds in North Carolina within 15 years and ban the practice of storing wet coal ash in such basins. Four facilities with “high-risk” coal ponds, including one in Skyland, must be cleaned up within five years under its timeline. During a Monday hearing by the Senate’s committee on agriculture, environment and natural resources, Sen. Tom Apodaca and Senate Leader Phil Berger introduced their bill as a substitute to one they sponsored in May on behalf of Gov. Pat McCrory. Under the substitute bill, coal ash ponds at Duke Energy’s Dan River, Asheville, Riverbend and Sutton power plants — all of which are considered “high-risk” because of their proximity to major rivers — would have to be excavated and closed as “quickly as practicable,” no later than 2019.
Reactions mixed to Senate's coal ash plan (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Leaders of the state Senate who unveiled a coal ash bill Monday said it would be the most comprehensive regulation of the power-plant residue in the country. Environmentalists said it was better than the governor’s plan, but still had loopholes that could endanger water supplies. The bill would close all 33 coal ash storage ponds in the state within 15 years – twice as fast as Duke Energy says it would be able to – set up an appointed commission to oversee closure plans, impose additional safeguards, and encourage the exploration of alternate uses of coal ash in construction as a way to dispose of the more than 100 million tons of the material – far more than can be buried in landfills in North Carolina or nearby. Republican senators and the head of North Carolina’s environmental protection agency were cautiously receptive to the bill, which was presented to them in a committee on Monday by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and Sen. Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville. Duke Energy called the proposed closure timeline an “aggressive” plan that would present “significant challenges” for the company. The biggest challenge would be finding a place to safely store the coal ash.
State Orders Duke Energy To Submit Repair Plans For Leaking Pipes Near Coal Ash Facilities – (N.C. Political News) State officials ordered Duke Energy on Monday to submit repair plans for leaking corrugated metal and concrete spillway pipes at coal ash impoundment dams at five power plants. The N.C. Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources issued Duke Energy eight notices of deficiency Monday for leaks in the spillways and riser pipes at Marshall Steam Station in Catawba County, Riverbend and Allen Steam Stations in Gaston County, Buck Steam Station in Rowan County, and Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford and Cleveland counties. All of the plants are in the Charlotte metro area and western North Carolina.