Help Duke Energy Buy a Bigger Coal Ash Dump Truck
Organized by: Matt Wasson
After Duke Energy spilled nearly 40,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River last February, North Carolina politicians committed to passing a bill that would require the company to quickly move all coal ash out of leaky holes in the ground and into modern landfills -- you know, the kind with liners that are used to dispose of ordinary household garbage.
But legislators have been backing off that commitment because lobbyists for Duke Energy have told them it wouldn’t be feasible to move all of this coal ash to a safer location on a 5, 10 or even 15 year timeframe. Their evidence is an analysis showing it could take 30 years to move all of the ash from one of the state’s biggest coal ash lagoons. (And Duke has 33 of these coal ash dumps.)
We did a little “digging” of our own and discovered that this scary analysis assumes Duke could only move 10 tons of coal ash at a time -- roughly the amount you could put in a trailer and pull to the dump with a Ford F-350 pickup. This led us to an obvious solution: why don’t we just buy Duke a bigger dump truck?
Now, you might be wondering why ordinary folk like you and me should have to pay for a dump truck for the largest electric utility in the nation, which cleared nearly $3 billion in profits last year. You wonder that because you simply don’t understand the mindset of Duke Energy executives. Forcing them to spend their money on something as hippy-dippy as protecting rivers and drinking water from toxic pollution is a lot like taking candy from the hand of a baby.
So whaddya say, folks? If we all pitch in a buck we can buy Duke Energy a bright, shiny new dump truck and, at the same time, ease legislators’ minds about passing a bill that will hold Duke accountable for safely disposing of millions of tons of toxic coal ash. It’s a big win for everyone!
Here are answers to some obvious questions:
Q. How will we get the money to Duke Energy?
We plan to hold a celebration at Duke’s headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., later this summer to present the company with a check for all of the proceeds -- and you’re invited!
Q. What if Duke Energy won’t accept the check?
Then we’ll use the money to pay for well water testing in communities living near coal ash dumps in North Carolina and to support local groups who are trying to force Duke to clean up the coal ash problem in their neighborhood.
Q. Where can I learn more?
Visit the Appalachian Voices website for a more detailed writeup!
Appalachian Voices is a 501(c)3 non-profit environmental organization committed to preserving the air, land, water and communities of central and southern Appalachia and reducing coal’s impact while advancing clean energy for the region. Read more here.