First is Courts and Law Reporter Sharon McCloskey’s excellent new story on the legal reverberations from the disaster and the new North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ wimpy approach to enforcement.
Second is yesterday’s Weekly Briefing which argues that the disaster is just the tip of a very big and dangerous iceberg of environmental neglect in North Carolina.
Third is the announcement of new Crucial Conversation luncheon on the subject featuring Appalachian Voices advocate Amy Adams and State Rep. Pricey Harrison. The event is scheduled for two weeks from today. Get more details and register by clicking here.
Finally, be sure to check out the latest editorial on the subject from the Winston-Salem Journal entitled “Duke Energy, legislature must remove environmental threat.” As the authors note:
“Perhaps the best argument for finding a long-term solution for disposing of coal-ash is that Duke Energy apparently was caught by surprise when a section of 48-inch pipe under a 27-acre ash pond broke and sent millions of gallons of coal-ash slurry into the Dan River Feb. 2.
And in a response reminiscent of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, it took Duke five days to plug the damaged pipe and stop the contamination of one of North Carolina’s most pristine rivers. The company was neither aware of the weakness in the old pipe – the section that failed was made of corrugated metal instead of reinforced concrete – nor did it have a plan to deal with such a failure.
That should give the company and the rest of us pause. What other vulnerabilities related to coal ash ponds, including the one on Belews Creek, remain hidden?”