NC Environmental Groups Detail Environmental, Health Problems from Toxic Coal Ash Waste

Appalachian Voices
NC Conservation Network
North Carolina Sierra Club

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dan Conrad, NC Conservation Network, 919.857-4699
Donna Lisenby, Appalachian Voices, 828.262-1500
Molly Diggins, Sierra Club, 919.833-8467

NC Environmental Groups Detail Environmental, Health Problems from Toxic Coal Ash Waste
Report concludes that “Regulation is needed in North Carolina”

In advance of a landmark public hearing in Charlotte September 14 on US EPA’s proposed new rules to manage coal ash waste, a broad coalition of environmental groups today released a compilation report, which gives for the first time a complete picture of how this issue affects North Carolina. Stating that “it is evident that [coal ash] poses a significant threat to North
Carolina citizen’s public health and the environment,” the report paints a stark picture of the Tarheel state’s toxic coal ash problem.

The compilation combines the key findings from three reports issued earlier this year: one by Appalachian Voices on leaking coal ash ponds; a second released by the Sierra Club concerning beneficial uses and structural fill; and a third released by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earth Justice detailing coal ash damage cases. The compilation also includes information provided by other regional environmental organizations as well as the Environmental Protection Agency to present the range of issues specifically facing North Carolina as a result of coal combustion residues.

According to US EPA, North Carolina has more high hazard coal ash ponds than any other state.

Key findings from today’s release include:
• Thirteen of North Carolina’s massive coal ash ponds are currently leaking heavy metals, including arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and selenium, into groundwater.
• Electric utility companies such as Duke and Progress Energy pipe millions of gallons of untreated coal ash waste water into many of NC’s major North Carolina rivers including the Broad, Cape Fear, Catawba, Dan, French Broad, Haw, Neuse, Roanoke and Yadkin-Pee Dee Rivers.
• Inadequate regulation of 75 “structural fill” sites in 21 NC counties allows coal ash to be dumped without safety measures such as groundwater monitoring, regular inspections, permits, or liners.

After decades of inaction, EPA is taking comments on two options to regulate coal ash. The public hearing will be held at the Holiday Inn Airport on Little Rock Road from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and is open to the public.

Organizations who have endorsed the findings of these reports include: American Rivers • Appalachian Voices • Catawba Riverkeeper • Conservation Council of NC • Clean Water for NC • Environmental Defense Fund • Environment NC • French Broad
Riverkeeper • NC Conservation Network • NC Interfaith Power & Light • NC Warn • Pamlico-Tar River Foundation • Sierra Club • Southern Alliance for Clean Energy • Southern Environmental Law Center • Western NC Alliance • Yadkin Riverkeeper


View more reports on coal ash by Appalachian Voices and our partners at