Coal Ash: Now a Part of a Balanced Breakfast

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 | Posted by Hallie Carde | 1 Comment

This just in: in addition to fruits and veggies, our nation’s children should be getting their daily dose of coal ash. Or at least that’s what statements at a public hearing in Franklin County, Missouri, seem to suggest.

Just last week, there was a hearing for a lawsuit filed by the Labadie Environmental Organization over a zoning amendment that would allow Ameren Corp. to construct a new coal ash landfill in the heart of a floodplain. Toxicologist Dr. Lisa J.N. Bradley, testifying on behalf of Ameren Energy Corporation, said, “A child could consume coal ash every day and have no increased exposure to arsenic.”

Bradley was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the American Coal Ash Association, a lobbying organization whose membership includes Ameren, Duke Energy, Southern Company and other large coal-burning utilities. Unfortunately, it seems that conflict of interest was lost on Associate Circuit Court Judge Robert D. Schollmeyer, who dismissed the lawsuit citing Bradley’s testimony.

Maximiliano Calcano, age 2, is one of the first children born with a dramatic birth defect attributed to the coal ash dumping in the Dominican Republic.

There are many who have had to face the traumatic effects of toxic coal ash firsthand. Following the AES Corporation’s dumping of 80,000 tons of coal ash waste along the shores of the Dominican Republic between 2003 and 2004, the country’s women have suffered years of consistent miscarriages, abnormal levels of arsenic in their blood, and births to babies with cranial deformities, external organs, and missing limbs.

While we have yet to uncover such a horrific case here in the states, concerns over coal ash are real. Archie Dixon lives just south of Belmont, N.C., where Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds are some of his closest and most unwelcome neighbors. Distrustful of the visible grime and discoloration of his water, Mr. Dixon has been buying bottled water for years, unwilling to ingest the water from his home’s private well. Despite reassurance from Duke Energy officials who say that lab tests show that the sediment in Mr. Dixon’s water is of naturally occurring materials, he refuses to take any risks with his water. Dixon is not the only member of his community concerned about coal ash.

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Singin’ the Catawba River Blues After Commission’s Decision On Coal Ash

Thursday, December 6th, 2012 | Posted by Hallie Carde | 1 Comment

North Carolina, we have a problem.

The waste from burning coal, known as coal ash, continues to threaten our state’s water supply. Seepage from coal ash impoundments is contaminating North Carolina’s water at various sites throughout the state. Unaddressed in the past and denied in the present, this pollution demands a stronger fight to protect clean water, and advocates are putting up that fight.

Unfortunately, advocates for N.C.’s clean water recently lost a battle on the coal ash front. This past Monday, the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) ruled against a petition to require Duke Energy to clean up contamination resulting from 14 of their coal ash pits.

Monday’s hearing ended in a 9-2 decision that the company’s coal ash sites are exempt from the requirements of the state’s groundwater standards and therefore do not require immediate clean up.

In October, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed a formal complaint on behalf of four organizations (Cape Fear River Watch, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Western N.C. Alliance) against Progress and Duke Energies to clean up the contamination from their coal ash ponds.

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