Instead Of Cleaning Up Coal Ash Sites, North Carolina Legislators Want To ‘Bail Out’ Duke Energy

North Carolina’s biggest utility has 14 different coal ash storage sites in the state, and none of them are safe. That means the chemicals and heavy metals — including mercury and arsenic — in coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal for power generation, can leach into local water supplies.

The safety issue was demonstrated in dramatic fashion a few years ago, when a coal ash storage pond ruptured, sending millions of gallons of poisonous sludge into North Carolina’s Dan River.

Environmentalists have long been trying to force Duke Energy, the state’s massive utility, to clean up its coal ash sites, but after the Dan River disaster, more legislators got on board, passing the Coal Ash Management Act. It hasn’t exactly gone well.

Among other things, the act set up a commission to oversee Duke’s coal ash clean-up efforts, but last year, Gov. Pat McCrory (R), a former Duke executive, sued to dismantle the commission — and won.

It might seem like the legislature is fighting for the people and McCrory is fighting for Duke, but that’s not exactly the case, said Frank Holleman, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center who has been fighting coal ash in court.

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Perhaps they should hire a maid service


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