Press Releases

By Date (most recent at top)

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 21, 2015

 

The Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump (CCACAD) announces the receipt of a grant from Credo, a national organization which works to prevent climate change and the dependence on fossil fuels.  Credo gives Climate Hero grants of $500 to organizations working to prevent fossil fuel pollution.  CCACAD is working to stop the dumping of 12 million tons of coal ash in Brickhaven, a small community near Moncure in southeast Chatham County.

    CCACAD is also challenging the three permits issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to Charah, the coal ash management company hired by Duke Energy, the only electricity generating company in North Carolina, and the largest in the U.S. “This grant will help us spread the word to more people in Chatham,” said Judy Hogan, the chair of CCACAD.  “We are grateful to Credo for this organizing grant. We also had a successful benefit plate sale on September 18, Friday, and raised money to pay our attorney who is challenging the DENR permits in the Office of Administrative Hearings in Raleigh.

 

Contact info: Judy Hogan, 919-545-9932

judyhogan@mindspring.com

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 6, 2015

 

Contacts:

Therese Vick (BREDL): (919) 345-3673

Debbie Hall (ELEE): (919) 775-7506

Judy Hogan CCACAD): (919) 545-9932

 

Groups File Legal Challenge to Duke Energy’s Coal Ash Dumping Plans

Raleigh- Charging that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) acted arbitrarily and capriciously by issuing permits for two proposed coal ash dumps in Lee and Chatham Counties, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump (CCACAD), and EnvironmentaLEE (ELEE) filed a petition for a contested case hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) today.

BREDL community organizer Therese Vick stated “Communities targeted for coal ash disposal deserve a regulatory agency that has their best interests at heart, not what is in the best interest of Duke Energy. DENR had sufficient reason to deny the permits, and they did not.” CCACAD president Judy Hogan commented on the challenge filed today saying, “We are very happy to have filed this appeal to challenge the mining and solid waste permits which DENR released without paying attention to its own rules to protect us.” Debbie Hall, vice-president of ELEE explained why they felt this step was necessary, “We chose to join in the complaint because we believe that any citizen who feels an action will significantly impact their lives in a negative way has the right to oppose that action.  We still believe in grassroots efforts, and that those efforts can make a difference in the outcome.”                                                                   

Issues raised in the petition include:

·         The actions allowed by the permits would have a significant and adverse impact on the health and well-being of the members of the petitioners, and  on their families, the use and enjoyment of their property, the value of their property and other economic interests. 

·         DENR’s issuance of the Permit has substantially prejudiced the rights of the Petitioners and their members. By issuing the permits, the state agencies exceeded their authority or jurisdiction; acted erroneously; failed to use proper procedure; acted arbitrarily or capriciously; and failed to act as required by law or rule. 

·         The proposed sites are solid waste landfills, rather than mine reclamation projects, and should be regulated as such.

·         The requirements for compliance with other laws for the protection of the environment should be examined for all of corporate partners of Green Meadow, LLC.

·         Environmental Justice: DENR did not investigate, or require the applicants to investigate, the cumulative impacts on the communities.

 

            According to John Runkle, attorney for the plaintiffs, the petition was filed to “ensure that all regulations are complied with." Filing a petition for a contested case through the Office of Administrative Hearings is the first step in challenging an agency decision.

 

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League was founded in 1984. The organization has a thirty-year track record of victories over polluting facilities.

www.bredl.org

Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump was founded in December 2014 in opposition to Duke Energy’s plan to dump coal ash in the county.

www.nocoalash.org

EnvironmentaLEE was founded in 2011.  ELEE works to protect the environment of Lee County.

www.EnvironmentaLEE.org

 

Petition attached [download petition here]

 

~end~

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

June 16, 2015 

Contact:  Charlie Horne, County Manager, 919-542-8200

 

Chatham Commissioners Approve Pending Agreement with Duke Energy on Coal Ash

PITTSBORO, NC —  Even though the state has already granted permits for Charah to move ahead with coal ash disposal at the Brickhaven mine in Moncure, Chatham County has reached an agreement with Duke Energy that will provide substantial funds to help monitor site safety and will limit the amount of ash deposited there. The agreement must be signed by both parties to be final. 

“The agreement we voted on is certainly not everything we sought, because actions by the State of North Carolina prevent us from denying the site and have minimized our leverage. Even so, we have secured several important requirements that will help protect the safety and health of the community and natural resources,” said County Commissioner Chairman Jim Crawford.

Crawford said it was a challenge to negotiate key points when the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently announced that it had already granted key coal ash disposal permits to Duke Energy. “This did not deter our efforts.   With the help of our legal counsel, we were able to achieve several key goals.”

Crawford explained that the 2014 Coal Ash Management Act passed by the General Assembly ensured that local governments had no option to deny lined repositories and also limited local regulation of them.  “Anything we did that was perceived as precluding the disposal of coal ash would be struck down,  but we could bind Duke to testing and compensation for the risks our county has taken on for the state

The agreement would mean that Chatham County can still hold legally accountable two key parties: Charah Inc., the contractor managing coal ash transport and disposal, and Green Meadows LLC, the property owner.

As part of the arrangement, Chatham County will receive $18 million ($1.50 per ton of coal ash received by the Brickhaven site).  An initial payment of $6 million must be paid within 10 days after the first coal ash is placed at the site.  Subsequent payments will be made annually.

“This will give the county funding to monitor and keep track of various environmental risks associated with lined repositories of coal ash in and around the Brickhaven site,” said County Commissioner Vice Chairman Mike Cross, who lives in Moncure. “We will not hesitate to sound an alarm when it needs to be sounded. The safety of residents, businesses and natural resources in that area is paramount.”

In addition, Duke Energy would pay Chatham County $114,193 per year for five years to help make up for property tax revenue losses due to the closure of the Cape Fear Plant. The Moncure Fire Department also was impacted by lost fire tax revenue, so Duke Energy will pay an additional $300,000 to help pay off the department’s debt service for equipment and facilities.

The agreement would mean that Duke Energy agrees to cap the total amount of coal ash in Brickhaven at 12 million tons and would not allow coal ash from outside the state to be stored there.  

The agreement would address issues related to the now-closed Cape Fear Plant. Duke Energy must work with Chatham County on future plans to more safely contain the coal ash already stored in ponds at the plant, which could include moving some to the Brickhaven site. Duke Energy also can’t send any other coal ash from other plants to this plant site.

Several specific safety and health measures were included in the pending agreement:

·         Delivery and Deposit Records:  Chatham County will be able to petition with reasonable notice to obtain the records from Duke Energy to determine how much ash has been deposited and dates of delivery. Duke also must maintain delivery logs as required by law and make them available to the county on request. 

·         Permit Violations:  Duke Energy would be required to notify Chatham County if there are any permit violations issued by DENR related to the Brickhaven operations and must do so within 10 days.

·         Local Regulations:  Any local regulations generally applicable to all developments would be applicable to the Brickhaven site, including provisions related to setbacks, buffers, stormwater and lighting.  Chatham County already has issued a notice of violation to the site owner for preliminary clearing for the rail spur track at the site without first submitting a required erosion and sediment control plan.

·         Ash & Groundwater Sampling:  Chatham County could request and receive from Charah the results of sampling tests for the Brickhaven site performed BEFORE any coal ash is deposited.  This includes baseline sampling and ongoing subsequent sampling of ash and groundwater.

·         County Sampling:  With notice, Chatham County also could conduct its own split sample tests on a quarterly basis at groundwater wells on the site. The county also will use funding from the agreement to set up its own monitoring systems around the site.

Duke Energy will continue to support Chatham’s economic development, including the ongoing assistance of its industrial Site Readiness Program.  The company also commits to helping Chatham municipalities update downtown power lines and to promoting solar energy throughout the county.   

-END-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 8, 2015

 

Contact:

Therese Vick- (919) 345-3673 therese.vick@gmail.com

 

Groups Slam Agency’s Premature Issuance of Permits

Permittee cited for violations at Chatham County site, investigation of Lee County site ongoing

 

June 8, 2015- Today, in a letter to North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Donald van der Vaart, three environmental groups blasted the Department’s decision on Friday to grant two of the necessary permits for the proposed coal ash dumps in Lee and Chatham Counties. Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump (CCACAD), and EnvironmentaLEE (ELEE) charged that issuing the permits before enforcement actions are resolved and the investigation of the Lee County site was concluded was inappropriate and premature. Therese Vick, BREDL organizer said, “It is clear that despite federal investigations and well-deserved negative publicity, that DENR decisions are still being made in the best interest of Duke Energy, not the people of North Carolina.”

On June 2, the agency sited Green Meadow, LLC, and Moncure Holdings, LLC with failing to obtain a stormwater permit and issued notices of deficiency for other problems at the Brickhaven site in Chatham County, and reported that they will be investigating possible violations at the Colon site in Lee County. On the same day, in a letter to DENR Secretary Donald van der Vaart the groups, including the Haw River Assembly and NC WARN urged the Department “… to instruct the permittee, Green Meadow LLC, and any associated entities to cease all activity at both sites until this matter is resolved. Additionally, permit review for the proposed coal ash disposal sites should be halted until such time as the Department has finished its investigation of both sites and any enforcement action is complete.”

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), is a regional grassroots environmental organization. Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump and EnvironmentaLEE are chapters of BREDL.

~end~

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 19, 2015

 

Contacts:

Therese -Vick- (919) 345-3673 therese.vick@gmail.com

John Runkle- (919) 942-0600 jrunkle@pricecreek.com

 

 

Groups Urge North Carolina Department Of Environment And Natural Resources To Nix Duke Energy’s Coal Ash Plans

 

Raleigh- Citing incomplete information, flouting of state law, ignoring public health and environmental justice concerns, and lack of compliance reviews mandated by state law, four environmental groups urged the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to deny Duke Energy’s plan to dump up to 20 million tons of dangerous coal ash in Lee and Chatham Counties. Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), NC WARN, Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump and EnvironmentaLEE filed the comments with DENR as the comment period closed. BREDL organizer Therese Vick pointed out that, “We have given DENR substantial and sufficient reason to deny the permits. Now it is time for them to do their job.”

 

           John Runkle, Attorney for NC WARN recommended that the permit application be denied due to “…significant and adverse impacts on drinking water, wildlife, air quality and dust, surface and groundwater, public housing, neighboring residences and facilities and recreation, and the potential for substantial deposits of toxic sediment in

streams.”

The comment package included a letter from Dr. G. Fred Lee, world-renowned expert on landfilling and its impacts on the environment. (http://www.gfredlee.com/) Lee’s five-page document closed with, “Overall, based on our expertise and professional experience, we strongly recommend that the state of North Carolina not proceed with permitting

of coal combustion ash disposal in Subtitle D landfills in clay mines because such wastes will eventually lead to groundwater pollution by the waste-associated components.”

The hundreds of pages of comments included the results of community surveys done in the areas surrounding the Brickhaven site in Chatham County, and the Colon Site in Lee County. In addition, daycares in Lee County were contacted. Some of the child-care facilities are mere yards from railroad tracks that could carry thousands of rail-cars full of toxic coal ash. (Photo attached) Sanford Pediatrics also voiced their concerns about the plan, "No one on our staff can claim to be expert toxicologists, but we know a threat to our patients when we see one. Sanford Pediatrics hereby goes on record as being strongly opposed to the planned deposit of coal ash in Clay mines in Lee County."

~end~

Comments attached

 

NC WARN is a member based non-profit which monitors Duke Energy’s practices and is working for a swift North Carolina transition to energy efficiency and clean power generation.

 

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League was founded in 1984. The organization has a thirty-year track record of victories over polluting facilities. EnvironmentaLEE and Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump are chapters of BREDL.

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NEWS

Groups file legal challenge to Duke Energy's coal ash dumping plans...  Read the press release.

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