Duke’s Refusal to Clean Up its Coal Ash Pollution Slap in the Face of N.C. Communities

Statement by Frank Holleman, Senior Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—The Southern Environmental Law Center released the following statement by Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, regarding Duke Energy’s announcement that it will fight the 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.

“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. 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.”

The Southern Environmental Law Center represents the following citizen groups in court seeking cleanup of Duke Energy’s toxic-laden coal ash: 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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For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org

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