Near the beginning of our new video, “At What Cost?”, longtime Stokes County, N.C., resident Annie Brown says, “I love to turn the switch on and have my lights just like anyone else, but at what cost?”
It’s a question we should all ask of ourselves. Our everyday lives come full of choices that influence how we relate to the environment and each other. But we also must routinely direct our elected officials and the companies that sell us electricity to consider the question: at what cost do our outdated, and often dangerous, energy policies and practices come?
In the video, Brown and other residents and former residents wonder about the relationship between their communities’ health problems and their proximity to Duke Energy’s Belews Creek coal plant, the largest in the Carolinas.
The plant also has the largest unlined toxic coal ash pit in the state, only increasing locals’ concern about the likelihood that their health problems could be linked to the coal plant in their backyard.
Duke Energy’s marketing team says: “You don’t think about all that’s going on behind that switch, because we do.” But Annie Brown thinks about, and so do we.
North Carolina deserves better. And with the Duke Energy shareholders meeting this Thursday, and the 2014 state legislative session beginning in just two weeks, now is the time to demand stronger protections from coal ash pollution.
Please check out our Facebook and Twitter pages to help us share this video widely. If you live in North Carolina, contact your state senator and ask him or her to support legislation that will eliminate the worst threats coal ash poses to clean water.