Environmental Groups’ Statements on Duke Energy’s Announcement
Washington, D.C.- Earthjustice, Southern Environmental Law Center, and our clients are pleased that Duke Energy now says it will comply with the law, and provide the required emergency toxic spill information for communities that sit near the utility’s giant coal ash lagoons. These dumps have experienced catastrophic spills around the country, and people need to be prepared. Coal ash has arsenic, lead, chromium and other toxics. It’s one of the biggest industrial water pollution sources in the country. Maps of the areas in the path of a coal ash spill and other safety information are critical to help communities prepare for disaster.
Statement by Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center: “It is a shame that citizens have to threaten to sue Duke Energy to get it to obey the law. The public should have had this emergency information for months. Duke Energy has this information and has blacked it out. There is no reason that it cannot be made public immediately. Communities across North Carolina should look closely at these flood maps once Duke Energy reluctantly makes them public to see what threats Duke Energy has imposed on the families of North Carolina.”
Statement by Jenny Cassel, project attorney at Earthjustice: “Now that Duke Energy has confirmed that it has these maps and contact information for emergency responders, it should post that information right away. Disasters can strike at any time, and communities near Duke’s coal ash dams deserve to be prepared.”
Statement by Peter Harrison of Waterkeeper Alliance: “You’d think that after being convicted on nine counts of federal coal ash crimes and having to pay over a hundred million dollars in fines and restitution, Duke Energy would have learned it doesn’t get to pick and choose which laws it has to obey and which ones it can ignore. But once again, the habitual offender was caught red-handed breaking laws that are supposed to protect the public from its dangerous coal ash dumps. People who live around these toxic dumps have a right to know the risks.”
Earthjustice sent notices regarding four Duke Energy coal ash sites in Indiana and Kentucky on behalf of Hoosier Environmental Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, Wabash Riverkeeper, and Kentuckians For The Commonwealth.
The Southern Environmental Law Center sent notices regarding 10 Duke Energy coal ash sites across North Carolina on behalf of these community groups: Appalachian Voices, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, MountainTrue, Roanoke River Basin Association, Sound Rivers, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Winyah Rivers Foundation.