Duke Energy chooses coal ash litigation over clean water and communities

Today North Carolina-based Duke Energy announced it will fight last week’s state order requiring it to clean up its coal ash pollution at six unlined, leaking sites where it stores toxin-laden coal ash sitting in groundwater next to rivers and lakes. 

Senior Attorney Frank Holleman

“Duke Energy’s refusal to accept responsibility for cleaning up its dangerous coal ash pits is a slap in the face to the communities in North Carolina living with the pollution from Duke’s leaking, unlined pits,” said Senior Attorney Frank Holleman, who leads the team of attorneys representing several groups who are suing the utility seeking clean up of its toxin-laden coal ash.

“Duke Energy’s decision to fight these cleanups ignores the science confirming that its sites have been polluting our water for decades and will continue to do so for centuries. And it places the public and our rivers and lakes at continued risk of another coal ash catastrophe from the next hurricane or structural failure.

“For years, tens of thousands of North Carolinians have been telling Duke and the Department of Environmental Quality they demand these cleanups, which every utility in South Carolina is now doing and is now required for every one of the unlined lagoons of Virginia’s utility. It is long past time to clean up all of Duke’s leaking, unlined coal ash pits in North Carolina.”

In light of Duke's statement indicating it does not intend to comply with the state order, SELC is considering its legal options. The six Duke Energy sites in question are Allen, Belews, Cliffside/Rogers, Marshall, Mayo, and Roxboro. SELC represents the following citizen groups in these coal ash cases: Appalachian Voices, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, MountainTrue, the North Carolina NAACP, Roanoke River Basin Association, the Stokes County Branch of the NAACP, and Waterkeeper Alliance. 

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