NCDENR COAL

UPDATE, Aug. 14: Duke has received more than 4,000 comments from the community about this proposed settlement.

The City of Asheville also passed a resolution on Aug. 13 that says, in part, that Asheville calls on Duke to “find a permanent solution that provides the best possible protection from the coal ash lagoons along the banks of the French Broad River.” (Read/download the resolution here.)

Thank you for helping us and our partners shine a light on this critical environmental issue!

Duke Energy Progress and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have proposed a settlement to address Asheville’s leaking coal ash lagoons that are polluting groundwater and the French Broad River with toxic heavy metals.

This sweetheart deal, made without input from WNCA and its partners, allows Duke to keep dumping wet coal ash in unlined lagoons beside the river while it conducts more studies of its contamination problem.

The Asheville power plant’s two old coal ash lagoons sprawl over 90 acres along the French Broad River and hold back millions of tons of harmful coal ash. The ash lagoons, which have been seeping for decades, have contaminated groundwater with thallium, selenium and other toxic substances.

Based on years’ worth of documentation, and prompted by our threat to sue Duke earlier this year, DENR sued Duke and said that the unlawful pollution caused by the lagoons “poses a serious danger to the health, safety and welfare of the people of North Carolina” and “serious harm to the water resources of the State,” yet this deal will do nothing to remediate the source of the pollution.

Here’s what’s wrong with the proposed settlement:

  • It does not require Duke to stop polluting groundwater and French Broad River;
  • It does not require Duke to find a modern solution for its coal ash disposal that would stop the ongoing contamination to groundwater and the French Broad;
  • It allows Duke to perpetually delay cleanup in favor of more study;
  • It includes only a token fine of $60,000 that forgives years of documented illegal pollution by this multi-billion dollar corporation.

Tell DENR and Duke:

  1. You want a public hearing in Asheville on the proposed settlement.
  2. To stop the ongoing pollution of groundwater and the French Broad River.
  3. To start cleaning up the existing pollution 
  4. To find a long-term solution for disposing coal ash that doesn’t pollute the groundwater and the French Broad. 
  5. That it is time to take action and end the delays.

Send your comments by Aug. 14 to:

By email: lisa.palmer@ncdenr.gov

By mail:

Lisa Palmer

N.C. DENR Division of Water Quality

1617 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-1617