Press Release | November 18, 2013

Court Rules Conservation Groups Are Full Parties in Allen and Marshall Plants Coal Ash Pollution Suits

Mecklenburg County Superior Court ruled that the Catawba Riverkeeper represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center will be a full party in a civil prosecution brought by North Carolina against Duke Energy for coal ash pollution at its Allen and Marshall plants on Lakes Wylie and Norman.  The Southern Environmental Law Center sought to intervene on behalf of the Riverkeeper in the state’s action against Duke Energy.  Duke Energy opposed the participation of the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Riverkeeper.

“Because of this ruling, we will be at the table working to protect these important lakes and drinking water reservoirs from Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash pollution,” said Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center.  “Duke Energy sought to close the Riverkeeper out of the case, but the Court rejected Duke’s position.”

Duke Energy stores millions of tons of coal ash in unlined lagoons on the banks of both Lake Wylie and Lake Norman on the Catawba River.  These lagoons contaminate groundwater with toxic substances, and the coal ash lagoon at Allen on Lake Wylie is leaking contaminated water into the drinking water reservoir.  Lake Wylie provides drinking water to Belmont, N.C., and Rock Hill, S.C., and Lake Norman provides drinking water to Mooresville and Charlotte.  The North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources has determined that Duke Energy is violating North Carolina clean water laws due to its coal ash pollution at its plants on both lakes and that Duke Energy’s pollution “poses a serious threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the people of North Carolina” and “serious harm to the water resources of the state.”

“Duke Energy’s coal ash is polluting all the drinking water reservoirs on the Catawba River in the Charlotte region,” said Sam Perkins, the Catawba Riverkeeper.  “We will work in this case to see that Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash pollution is cleaned up.”

North Carolina has also brought a civil prosecution against Duke Energy for its coal ash pollution of Mountain Island Lake, a third drinking water reservoir on the Catawba River that serves Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Gastonia, and Mount Holly.  Previously, the court also allowed the Riverkeeper to participate in that civil prosecution, again over the objection of Duke Energy.

About the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a nonprofit organization with members in South and North Carolina that works to protect and restore the Catawba/Wateree River and its watershed.

Are you a reporter and would like more information? Please visit our press contact page for a full list of SELC’s press contacts.

Press Contacts

Frank Holleman

Senior Attorney with a focus on litigation

Phone: 919-967-1450

Kathleen Sullivan

Senior Communications Manager (NC)

Phone: 919-945-7106
Email: [email protected]