This is a guest post from a press release by Waterkeepers Alliance.
GOLDSBORO, N.C. — Waterkeeper Alliance and Sound Rivers have discovered a large coal ash spill into the Neuse River from the Duke Energy H.F. Lee facility, 10 miles upstream of Goldsboro, NC. A substantial but undetermined amount of coal ash was found floating on the surface of the river in a layer over one inch thick. See video here.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) created its informational website SoutheastCoalAsh.org in late 2012 as a resource to those wishing to learn more about the topic. Since then, the coal-ash issue’s landscape has changed many times over thanks to the 2014 Dan River spill, but especially because both the federal and state regulatory landscapes have changed. The site has been updated to include more prominent mapping of coal ash sites across the Southeast along with tracking industry’s responses to deadlines established by EPA’s coal ash rule and state rules.
Today, Waterkeeper Alliance and Upper Neuse Riverkeeper are responding to and documenting the breach of a 1.2-billion-gallon cooling pond dam at Duke Energy’s H.F. Lee plant. The breach occurred just minutes after Duke Energy issued a statement claiming that the “Ash basin and cooling pond dams across the state continue to operate safely; in fact, we’ve been pleased with their good performance during the historic flooding Hurricane Matthew brought to eastern North Carolina.”
While Floridians await a Public Service Commission (PSC) ruling later this year on a 24% rate hike for Florida Power & Light, the Commission is also considering another matter: acceptance of Ten Year Site Plans from the largest state utilities. The Ten Year Site Plan is a summary of Florida’s largest power companies’ resource plans for the next ten years. This year’s Site Plans rely on continuing to run old coal plants and building more natural gas fired power.
2016 Candidate Series: Leadership from a state’s governor is critical to setting the tone for energy policies, like REPS, and this blog series aims to inform voters on the policy stances regarding energy and climate issues that face North Carolina. First we evaluate current North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who is running for re-election this November. Pat McCrory worked for Duke Energy for 29 years and served as Charlotte’s longest-running mayor before retiring in 2008 to run for Governor of North Carolina. Prior to his 2012 gubernatorial election, Governor McCrory also served as a champion for Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers-backed anti-clean energy organization.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is ready to move ahead with plans to demolish it’s Widows Creek coal plant located in Stevenson, Alabama. In accordance with environmental regulations, TVA analyzed environmental impacts associated with various demolition and closure options and released it’s Final Environmental Impact Statement in early June.
TVA will use controlled explosions to raze Units 1-8 at the plant and will work to ensure all hazardous materials and potential safety hazards are removed. Demolition will begin in late 2017, making way for the much heralded Google Data Center that will be built at the former coal plant site. Google announced it’s plans to build its 14th data enter back in June 2015 and plans to power the facility with 100% renewable energy. The data center will provide 75-100 new full-time jobs and is a welcome economic development opportunity for Northern Alabama.
Last week, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released new classifications for Duke Energy’s coal ash storage across the state. In the rankings, all sites are listed as high or intermediate priority, meaning the ash would be excavated by 2019 or 2024. Yet DEQ has asked to be able to revise the plan in 18 months, providing little security to the many North Carolinians whose communities, drinking water, and homes are threatened by this toxic ash.
This is a guest post originally written by Robin W. Smith for the SmithEnvironment Blog. Smith is a lawyer with more than 25 years of experience in environmental law and policy. Before starting a private environmental law and consulting firm in 2013, Smith served as Assistant Secretary for Environment at the North Carolina Department of [...]
Cleaning up coal ash works. What are our southeastern states doing to make it happen? This post is part one of a two-part series exploring the state of coal ash regulation and clean up in the Southeast. Part one focuses on North and South Carolina and Tennessee.
The southeast has more coal ash per capita than any other region of the country, so we hope Rep. Johnson’s southern colleagues will co-sponsor and publicly support H.R. 4827.