Sing Out loud
January 04, 2017
BENEFITING: BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE INC
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
UPDATE DECEMBER 11, 2015: Coal Ash Dump Court Hearing Closes With Bombshells
Two of our three legal challenges were heard in court this week by Administrative Law Judge Meliisa Owens Lassiter. Link to WNCN report: http://wncn.com/2015/12/08/environmental-groups-oppose-nc-coal-ash-plan-in-court/
Our news release:Evidence shows that dump would be 50 feet high; most of site never mined Charah drawings differ from FEMA, GIS on location of floodplain at Lee County site
Raleigh- Today, a hearing on Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), EnvironmentaLEE (ELEE) and Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump’s challenge to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) issuance of permits for coal ash landfills in Lee and Chatham Counties closed with testimony from Don Kovasckitz, Lee County Director of Strategic Services. The sites are owned by Green Meadow, LLC, a subsidiary of Charah, Inc. Kovasckitz painstakingly and straightforwardly described the research his department undertook on behalf of Lee County when Duke Energy announced their plans to dump millions of tons of toxic coal ash in that county. He accompanied his testimony with a PowerPoint which he had presented to the Lee-Sanford Environmental Affairs Board earlier this year.
The PowerPoint showed that the Colon Road site would be 50 feet high, which contradicted testimony given by DEQ staff; that the toxic coal ash would be used to “level” the site so it could be developed. In addition, the research performed by Strategic Services showed that over 70% of the Lee County site had never been used for mining- belying the state’s claims to the contrary. The Brickhaven site in Chatham County was also largely unexcavated- maps show much of it covered by “dense woods.” Kovasckitz also testified that data used in by the FEMA, GIS and an environmental consultant hired by Charah all showed that the 100 year floodplain was mere feet from the actual landfill cells which could hold millions of tons of toxic coal ash. However, maps submitted to DEQ by Charah differed. Mr. Kovasckitz was subpoenaed to testify.
Prior to the hearing, BREDL organizer Therese Vick had obtained DEQ emails through public records requests that not only showed that DEQ knew that the site(s) were already reclaimed and had never been excavated, but that Assistant Secretary Tom Reeder called for permit decisions before the close of the public comment period and before all comments were considered. Although the agency objected to any evidence Vick obtained through the public records process when she testified, the judge allowed one document- an email detailing DEQ’s knowledge that the Colon Road site had already been reclaimed.
Vick stated, “Once again, the DEQ has demonstrated that they are willing to circumvent the law in order to accommodate Duke Energy. The state has manipulated the permitting of these two dumps in order to get them out from under the more stringent solid waste permitting process- which requires local government approval. Even agency staff admit that US EPA would consider this a landfill. We are hopeful about the outcome. “
After Kovasckitz’ testimony, the plaintiffs’ rested their case. DEQ declined to put on evidence. The judge has 45 days to make a decision.
UPDATE DECEMBER 3, 2015: Hearing on Coal Ash Dump Permits December 7, 2015!!!
December 7-11, 2015
TIME: 09:00 AM (or as soon thereafter as may be heard)
PLACE: North Carolina Office Administrative Hearings
1711 New Hope Church Rd
As we prepare for our day in court- we learned this week that Charah, the contractor developing and operating the Lee and Chatham County coal ash landfills, was cited by the Department of Environmental Quality for their SECOND violation in 3 months. Also this week, Duke Energy was cited for violations at their Asheville coal ash structural fill/landfill- also developed by Charah. Help us stop the violation of our communities- make your tax-exempt donation today.
UPDATE November 21, 2015:
Its been just a little over 1 year since we heard of Duke Energy's plans to dump millions of tons of coal ash on our neighborhoods. We want to say a BIG thank you to all who have donated! Our first court hearing is scheduled for December 7, 2015. Its a real David and Goliath effort, grassroots communities fighting the Governer's Department of Environmental Quality and Duke Energy, the largest utility in the United States!
The solution is not to spread the pollution!
EPA: NC risking federal takeover of environmental regulation
North Carolina’s recent tactic of blocking citizens from challenging state permits for industrial polluters could result in a federal takeover of the state’s regulatory program.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has put state officials on notice that North Carolina’s strategy is putting the state at risk of losing its authority to regulate industrial water pollution and air pollution. Since receiving the warning two weeks ago, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is downplaying the incident as a misunderstanding http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/article44915598.html
WE are still fighting against Dirty DUKE ENERGY dumpinng millions of toxic coal ash on our counties. We don't deseve this! The DEQ has put Duke Energy on the fast track of approvals and are not remembering who they are suppose to PROTECT!
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/article44915598.html#storylink=cpy
UPDATE Sept 30th THANK YOU PRIVATE DONATION
A big thank you goes out to a generous family donating funds, allowing us to buy two air monitors. Lets keep our counties free from pollution.
Help balance the scales of justice!
UPDATE AUGUST 12: Thank you for all your support thus far! On August 10, 2015. EnvironmentaLEE, Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump and Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League filed a second legal challenge of the permits issued by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. From the press release:
Therese Vick, BREDL community organizer stated, “DENR has again demonstrated that they are willing to circumvent their own rules in order to push these projects forward. The issuance of this permit only benefits Duke Energy.”
Debbie Hall, co-president of ELEE, blasted DENR’s expedited permitting process, “The speed and lack of consideration of the concerns raised by the citizens who will most affected is unacceptable"
Duke Energy is proposing to dump toxic coal ash in Lee and Chatham Counties, North Carolina. Lee County is already ground zero for fracking, and the North Carolina General Assembly stripped local governments of their ability to control fracking or coal ash dumping in their communities. These activities threaten health, the environment, and property rights. We are raising funds for a possible legal challenge to Duke Energy's plan.
Duke Energy through their contractor Charah, Inc., is planning on placing it right on top of our watershed, where 2000 homes are within one half mile of this proposed dump site. An African American Cemetery which is the resting place for a World-War I veteran and his family is also part of the site.
The placement of 20 million tons of coal ash in Lee and Chatham County will create a 5-story mountain of coal ash at each site.
COAL ASH can contain ARSENIC, MERCURY, Selenium,LEAD, Dioxins, Boron, AND RADIOACTIVE materials.
The transportation of this coal ash will result in 200,000 train-car loads, and over 600,000 truck loads of this dangerous material going through North Carolina communities.
Community property values will be negatively impacted.
It is well understood that all landfill liners will leak. It is a matter of when, not if.
Duke is transferring all liability to a limited liability company; Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League has proposed a safer solution which would isolate the coal ash from surface water, groundwater and airborne dispersion.
All donations are tax-deductible and funds raised will go directly to the local grassroots organizations fighting Duke Energy's proposal.
Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dumps
Link to BREDL Coal Ash Campaign: http://www.bredl.org/campaigns/coalash.htm