Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

EPA Orders Duke Energy to Clean North Carolina Coal Ash Spill

Energy
EPA Orders Duke Energy to Clean North Carolina Coal Ash Spill

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Duke Energy reached a deal Thursday afternoon to clean up one of the largest coal ash spills in U.S. history.

The deal comes after months of advocates demanding answers and residents calling for stricter enforcement.

As a result of Duke spilling thousands of tons of coal ash into the Dan River near Eden, NC in February, the EPA decided the company must:

  • Perform a comprehensive assessment
  • Determine the location of coal ash deposits
  • Remove deposits along the Dan River as deemed appropriate by EPA, in consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service

[blackoutgallery id="320266"]

"EPA will work with Duke Energy to ensure that cleanup at the site, and affected areas, is comprehensive based on sound scientific and ecological principles, complies with all Federal and State environmental standards, and moves as quickly as possible," EPA Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney said in a statement.

"Protection of public health and safety remains a primary concern, along with the long-term ecological health of the Dan River.”

The decision will leave Duke on the hook, financially, too. The company will be required to reimburse the EPA for its time and oversight costs during the cleanup. The order also requires Duke to reimburse all past EPA response costs, along with future oversight costs in connection with the spill.

The spill began on Feb. 2 when a stormwater pipe broke underneath the 27-acre primary pond and drained to the Dan River. Although state regulators and Duke Energy scrambled to get the spill under control, they waited more than 24 hours before notifying the public of the spill on Monday evening. By then, an estimated 82,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated water had dumped into the Dan River, a public drinking water supply for downstream communities like Danville, VA.

More than 48 hours after the spill was discovered, thick, dark gray toxic coal ash sludge continued to flow out of the pipe into the river.

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill Pollutes River and Threatens Drinking Water

Coal Ash Spill Leaves Most North Carolina Voters Craving Stronger Environmental Leadership

Duke Energy Ongoing Coal Ash Spill Into Dan River

——–

Reintroducing wolves is on the ballot in Colorado. Gunner Ries / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tara Lohan

Maybe we can blame COVID-19 for making it hard to hit the streets and gather signatures to get initiatives on state ballots. But this year there are markedly fewer environmental issues up for vote than in 2018.

While the number of initiatives may be down, there's no less at stake. Voters will still have to make decisions about wildlife, renewable energy, oil companies and future elections.

Here's the rundown of what's happening where.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A health care worker holds a test for patients suspected of being infected with coronavirus at the Center Health Vicoso Jardim on April 30, 2020 in Niteroi, Brazil. Luis Alvarenga / Getty Images

By Alexander Freund

The World Health Organization, along with its global partners in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, has announced that it will provide 120 million rapid-diagnostic antigen tests to people in lower- and middle-income countries over the next six months. The tests represent a "massive increase" in testing worldwide, according to the Global Fund, a partnership that works to end epidemics.

Read More Show Less

Trending

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on Sept. 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. Scott Olson / Getty Images

The first presidential debate seemed like it would end without a mention of the climate crisis when moderator Chris Wallace brought it up at the end of the night for a segment that lasted roughly 10 minutes.

Read More Show Less
Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The wildfires that roared through Eastern Washington in September had a devastating impact on an extremely endangered species of rabbit.

Read More Show Less
A protestor in NYC holds up a sign that reads, "November Is Coming" on June 14, 2020 in reference to voting in the 2020 presidential election. Ira L. Black / Corbis / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard

What follows are not candidate endorsements. Rather, this nonpartisan guide aims to inform voters' choices, help journalists decide what races to follow, and explore what the 2020 elections could portend for climate action in the United States in 2021 and beyond.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch