SELC Statement on NC House Passage of Coal Ash Legislation
Chapel Hill, N.C.–The following is a statement from Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, concerning the passage of legislation by the N.C. House that repeals portions of the North Carolina Coal Ash Management Act and seeks to shield Duke Energy from being required to remove coal ash from unlined leaking pits around the state:
“The North Carolina Legislature today carried water for Duke Energy, but turned its back on the clean water and communities of North Carolina. Thousands of citizens and community groups participated in good faith in public hearings and public comments this year, and over 98% of them called upon Duke Energy to remove its coal ash from unlined leaking pits in their neighborhoods. The science, the facts, and North Carolina’s Coal Ash Management Act require Duke Energy to excavate the ash from these dangerous riverfront pits – as even N.C. DEQ was forced to acknowledge. The legislature has done what Duke Energy’s lobbyists told it to do, threw thousands of public comments in the trash can, and protected Duke Energy while sacrificing the well-being of North Carolina’s clean water and communities.”
North Carolina community groups, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, continue to enforce North Carolina’s anti-pollution and clean water laws and the federal Clean Water Act in state and federal courts, seeking to require Duke Energy to get rid of the source of its illegal coal ash pollution by removing its coal ash from leaking unlined pits next to rivers and storing it in safe, dry, lined landfills away from rivers or recycling it for concrete. The passage of today's new legislation, while it guts provisions of the North Carolina Coal Ash Management Act, does not affect those laws or those enforcement proceedings.
The Southern Environmental Law Center has represented the following citizens groups in court to clean up Duke Energy’s coal ash pollution from all 14 leaking Duke Energy sites across North Carolina: Appalachian Voices, Cape Fear Riverwatch, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Dan River Basin Association, MountainTrue, Roanoke River Basin Association, Sierra Club, Sound Rivers, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Waterkeeper Alliance, Winyah Rivers Foundation, and Yadkin Riverkeeper.
About the Southern Environmental Law Center:
The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of more than 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. www.SouthernEnvironment.org