On Jan. 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ordered to finalize the first-ever federal regulations for disposal of coal ash by Dec. 19, 2014, following a lawsuit brought by environmental and public health groups — including Appalachian Voices — and a Native American tribe. The settlement requires the agency to release a rule by the deadline, but will not influence the content of the rule. Read more about coal ash regulation on p. 16
In North Carolina, seven conservation groups, including Appalachian Voices, filed suit to participate in state law enforcement measures against Duke Energy. The utility’s illegal pollution of groundwater, lakes and rivers supplying drinking water for local communities spurred lawsuits from environmental and public health groups as well as the North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources.
Following a proposed settlement between the state and Duke Energy that does not require Duke to clean up its coal ash pollution, almost 5,000 citizens and organizations submitted comments opposed to the flawed agreement. Southern Environmental Law Center filed the motion in late January on behalf of the environmental organizations.