SELC Comments on Duke Energy’s Response to Governor
Chapel Hill, NC – Last month, in response to overwhelming public pressure to finally require action from Duke Energy for its hazardous coal ash pits, Governor McCrory demanded that Duke Energy provide detailed plans for action at each of its 14 power plants. Today, Duke CEO Lynn Good responded to the Governor with a terse four page letter while at the same time Duke’s lawyers asked a state court judge to delay his ruling requiring Duke to take immediate action to eliminate sources of contamination for 30 days from his signing of the order.
“We need binding commitments from Duke not just words. It is good that Duke says it will remove the ash from Riverbend and Dan River, but all 14 communities in North Carolina threatened by its coal ash need binding commitments that Duke Energy will obey the law and clean up its coal ash,” said Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represents citizens groups intervening in state enforcement actions. “At the same time the public has to question Duke’s commitment to do the right thing when today it sought to delay enforcement of a court ruling that requires immediate clean up.”
“Astonishingly, after a catastrophic coal ash spill and a demand for information from the Governor of North Carolina – Duke is still trying to buy more time,” said DJ Gerken, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represents citizens groups in the state court action that led to the recent ruling. “While the letter offers hints of real promise – including a commitment to convert to dry ash handling or close coal fired units at Duke’s Asheville plant – Duke offers cold comfort to the many other North Carolina communities living with the contamination and hazards of Duke’s unlined coal ash pits. It’s time for Duke to enter into a binding agreement with definite timetables, enforceable by court order, to remove the toxic coal ash at all its coal ash pits away from waterways into dry lined storage.”