SCE&G Removes Almost 500,000 Tons of Coal Ash from Banks of Catawba-Wateree River
CHAPEL HILL, NC – According to a report this week under a settlement agreement, South Carolina Electric and Gas removed almost 500,000 tons of coal ash from its coal ash lagoons on the banks of the Catawba-Wateree River near Columbia, South Carolina. In 2012, the Southern Environmental Law Center brought suit against SCE&G on behalf of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation seeking removal of the ash. The coal ash removal is required by the voluntary settlement of that litigation.
“SCE&G is moving quickly to remove coal ash that threatens the Catawba-Wateree River and the Congaree National Park just 3 miles downstream,” said Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Upstream, Duke Energy stores coal ash on three locations along the Catawba River, and on rivers throughout North and South Carolina. Duke Energy should be removing its coal ash today, like SCE&G, instead of hiring lobbyists and lawyers and fighting to keep its coal ash in place.”
SCE&G’s coal ash removal is ahead of schedule. Under the settlement, SCE&G is required to remove 240,000 tons by January of 2015. SCE&G has now removed twice that amount. The Catawba-Wateree lagoons had 2.4 million tons of coal ash in them when the removal began.
“SCE&G has demonstrated that large-scale coal ash removal can be done and quickly so when not relentlessly resisted,” said Sam Perkins, Catawba RIVERKEEPER®. “With the prompt cleanup, this stretch of the Catawba-Wateree River is progressively less likely to see a disaster like that at Dan River. There is no reason that Duke Energy, with worlds more resources, cannot do the same.”
The coal ash is being moved to a modern, lined landfill away from the river on the site of SCE&G’s facility, where it is stored dry. SCE&G reported its progress in a semi-annual report for the period ending June 30, 2014.
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.
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