CoastLine: Coal Ash Management — Why and How Should NC Regulate It?

Jun 5, 2015

This broadcast of CoastLine originally aired on July 2, 2014.  

Coal ash in North Carolina— What is it?  Why and how should we regulate it?  And how soon will we will see coal ash cleaned up? 

Coal ash grabbed the national spotlight back in February when a wastewater pipe burst at Duke Energy’s Eden Plant, spilling an estimated 39,000 tons into the Dan River.  What many news media outlets are commonly calling toxic sludge coated about 70 miles of that waterway, which winds along the North Carolina–Virginia border. 

But before that high-profile spill, environmental watchdog groups had been sounding the alarm over what the Southern Environmental Law Center calls “illegal pollution.”  Now, Duke Energy is facing lawsuits in connection with all 14 of its coal-fired facilities in North Carolinaboth retired and operational. 

After the Dan River spill, Governor Pat McCrory, the state Senate, and now members of the state House have offered their own proposals for how to manage it.   

Duke Energy is working on clean-up plans which include some beneficial re-uses. 

On this edition of CoastLine, we explored the public concerns over coal ash management in North Carolina, what the state legislature’s proposals could mean for clean-up, we heard from Duke on how they’re responding to the ideas coming out of Raleigh. 

Our guests: 

Frank Holleman, Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center (in-studio)

Jeff Brooks, Spokesperson for Duke Energy (by phone)