Welcome to EnvironmentaLEE 

Click here to edit subtitle

We had our Chat-LEE 'Hands Across Our Land 2016'  AUG. 18th  TIME 12 NOON 

Hands Across Our Land 2016 at Deep River Camelback Truss Bridge Sanford, North Carolina 
EnvironmentaLEE.org & Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump joined together in hope of
"UNITING THE COUNTIES in support of Our environment" by holding hands in Solidarity against #DirtyIndustries messing up our land.
The first Hands Across Our Land actions were held on August 18, 2015, and thirty-five communities in 10 states participated.
Ours was last year in Moncure, the picture above was from then. You can find more at our facebook page. 
This time we are doing it at the Deep River Camelback Truss Bridge / aka Deep River Park, North Carolina
Help us stretch all the way across the bridge from both counties! Bring your kids and grandkids .
Invite your local churches and SCOUTS.

learn more about Hands Across Our Land actions here... http://www.handsacrossourland.org/
April 23rd we had the 'Carolina Country Band' Music fundraiser 
We enjoyed some good music and support a local cause! 
We had lots of wonderful homemade goodies ,coffee and drinks for everyone and a fun time by all. 
We are thankful to Cumnock Baptist for giving us a place to have this fundraiser. 
We are also very thankful to the ladies who brought the refreshments . There was even strawberry shortcake !
This year we were able to receive a grant of $2000 from the Center for Health, Environment and Justice in VA, CHEJ, a national group that helps groups fighting environmental issues, and our plan under the grant was to send out 4200 flyers , informing people about our two organizations, Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump, and EnvironmentaLEE, in Lee County.  
We set up workshops to help with leadership skills and for more scientific info on coal ash constituents, and we sent details of those.  The flyers went out Monday, April 11, with addresses from Chatham and Lee boards of election, and are being received now in both the greater Moncure area, which includes Sanford, New Hill, even a few Bear Creek addresses, and from Sanford zips of 27330, 27331, 27332.  We wanted primarily to reach and educate people living near the sites. 
  • SPONSORED BY EnvironmentaLEE and CCACD through a grant by CHEJ.orgAttend 3 Workshops on Coal Ash Dangers and Grassroot Strategies led by experts you can trust: 

  • This will be one of three Saturday afternoon coal ash presentations in Lee and Chatham. Leave your Saturday afternoons free so that you can attend all of them (or at least one).

  • May 7, Saturday, 1-3 PM: Cumnock Baptist Church, 477 Cumnock Rd., Sanford. Louis Zeller, Director of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League will share tips on leadership and strategy.
    3:30-4:30 PM: Rebecca C. Fry, PhD, UNC-CH: “Heavy Metals in Coal Ash: What are the Health Risks?”

  • May 14, Saturday, 1-3 PM: Liberty Chapel Church Samuels Annex, 1855 Old U.S. 1, Moncure. Avner Vengosh, PhD, Duke University: “Risks of Coal Ash to the Environment and Human Health.”

3:30-4:30 PM: George Lucier, PhD, Former Assoc. Director National Toxicology Program: “Health Risks From Coal Ash Constituents.”  

  • May 21, Saturday, 1-3 PM: Liberty Chapel Church Samuels Annex, 1855 Old U.S. 1, Moncure. Therese Vick, N.C. Healthy Sustainable Communities Campaign Coordinator, BREDL. “Using N.C. Public Records Law.”

3:30-4:30 PM: Jane Gallagher, PHD, MPH, US EPA (retired) “Monitoring Coal Ash Drinking Water Contaminates.”

  • Dr. Vengosh will be speaking about radioactivity and heavy metals in coal ash at a community meeting in Moncure on May 14th.  His presentation will be followed by an extensive question and answer period to allow concerned citizens to get clarification about the issues and to bring their questions and concerns about health effects to Dr. Vengosh.

  • Dr. Lucier and Dr. Gallagher, who are Chatham residents with a lot of experience with toxicity issues, water testing, and Dr. Gallagher has been compiling research on hexavalent chromium.

here is the flyer we sent out posted below...

 GOOD NEWS to share:   
EnvironmentaLEE , along with Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump, was recently awarded a $2000 dollar grant from the Center for Health,  Environment, and Justice (CHEJ).  ( http://chej.org  )
The CHEJ grant is awarded to a nonprofit group for the purposes of community education, outreach, and environmental organization growth.
CHEJ mentors a movement, empowering people to build healthy communities and working to prevent harm to human health caused by exposure to environmental threats.
Special thanks to Susan Alexander for a lot of hard work to make this happen. 

CCACAD and EnvironmentaLEE went to court, and Judge Lassiter of the Officer of Administrative Hearings, after a little over a day of testimony, said she would take 45 days to make a decision, so around January 22Meantime we go to court again on January 8, Friday, 10 AM, Chatham Justice Center, Courtroom 3-A, to challenge the 401 water permit.  That’s in Pittsboro, public invited, but no witnesses, only lawyers presenting material. 

Dec 8th 2015 

Day 2 of court case , finished ,now we wait.. . (day 1 below)

From  BREDL facebook page ...

Coal Ash Dump Court Hearing Closes With Bombshells

Evidence shows that dump would be 50 feet high; most of site never mined.

Charah drawings differ from FEMA, their own consultant 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 maps from 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.

1) Fight continues to keep coal ash out of Lee and Chatham counties

This link had video too. 

2) Billy Ball of INDY weekly  

Legal case begins against coal ash dumps in Chatham, Lee counties

3)  Hearings officer says state must explain why it’s letting Duke Energy bury coal ash in clay mines

Day 1.) 

Monday DEC7th 9AM 

December 7- Legal arguments on EnvironmentaLEE, Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump and Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League vs North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be heard at 9:00 am. The hearing is being held at the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings,1711 New Hope Church Rd, Courtroom A, Raleigh NC. The groups charged that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-now DEQ) acted arbitrarily and capriciously by improperly issuing permits for two proposed coal ash dumps in Lee and Chatham Counties.

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


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.


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


LOTS of Headlines ! One of our favorites was 'Judge questions 'beneficial use' of Coal Ash DUMP.

Hearings officer says state must explain why it’s letting Duke Energy bury coal ash in clay mines


Our local newspaper 

Environmental groups, state meet in court over coal ash permits 
BY BRANDI BROWN [email protected] 

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League is a regional environmental advocacy group and the parent organization for EnvironmentaLEE. The groups, along with Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump, are engaged in an administrative battle with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality related to permits for coal ash storage at the Brickhaven and Colon Road mines.
RALEIGH — Environmental groups won the majority of the first-day motions Monday at a hearing challenging the legality of permits issued for coal ash storage at Brickhaven and Colon Road Mines in Chatham and Lee counties.

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), a regional nonprofit, filed a petition with the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings in October. EnvironmentaLEE and Chatham County Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump are chapters of BREDL and also listed as petitioners in the case.

Judge Melissa Owens Lassiter opened Monday's hearing, which is expected to last several days, with decisions on motions attorneys for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and Charah — a Duke Energy contractor — filed asking for summary judgment. Summary judgment is a ruling that a petitioner's claim has no legal merit, and a judge can rule against the case before hearing arguments.

"I think the argument is that 'The agency could have made a different decision,'" said Peter McGrath, attorney for Charah. "That's not the basis for a decision."

Of seven violations the environmental groups alleged, Lassiter immediately denied the summary judgment motions on three of them at the hearing's outset, meaning that attorneys will argue BREDL's allegations later in the week. BREDL's petition states that the liner system that Charah is putting into place is not adequate to protect local groundwater. Another claim is that the permits fail to address health concerns from airborne coal ash particles and that a reliance on Duke Energy's leachate toxicity testing does not meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

The petition names two divisions — Waste Management and Energy, Mineral and Land Resources — from the the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (formerly the Department of Natural Resources) as respondents and argues that staff in those divisions committed seven rule violations in issuing permits for proposed coal ash storage sites to Charah.

The petition centers on whether staff correctly used provisions in the Mining Act of 1971 and in 2013's Coal Ash Management Act, which requires Duke Energy to dispose of coal ash, a by-product of electricity production, from a number of plants around the state.

Lassiter asked attorneys to make arguments about the remaining four claims before she ruled. Ultimately she granted summary judgment and rejected a BREDL argument that DEQ staff failed in their obligation to investigate the “track record” of all of the corporate partners involved in the coal ash storage.

“The only thing the agency [granting permits] is required to look at is the history at the time of the issuance,” McGrath said.

At the time of the permit issuance, there was no history of citations. In the past seven months, however, state officials have cited Duke and its corporate partners three times – twice with multiple violations – for erosion control and permitting violations at coal ash locations.

Lassiter denied summary judgment and rejected the state and Charah's argument that the coal ash locations can be permitted as “mine reclamation” despite the bulk of the land not having been excavated at the mine.

“At a meeting of the Lee County Board of Commissioners, [Strategic Services Director] Don Kovasckitz gave a PowerPoint presentation,” said BREDL attorney John Runkle. “It showed that 70 percent [of the Colon Road mine site] has not been excavated. Brickhaven has heavily wooded areas that either haven't been mined or have already been reclaimed.

“This is not a mining reclamation. They're using it as coal ash disposal, and it needs to be permitted as a solid waste landfill.”

Lassiter denied summary judgment on the two remaining arguments as well, siding with BREDL. The first claim was that the bond rates required to cover closure and post-closure costs, such as corrective actions for environmental mishaps, are not high enough.

“I would like to hear the process for how they came up with that number since [coal ash disposal requirements are] all new,” Lassiter said.

The final BREDL claim was that allowing the permits denies environmental justice to marginal populations. Charah's studies indicate that neither the minority nor low-income populations in the immediate vicinity of the mines is sufficient for environmental justice concerns to be at play. Runkle introduced surveying of the area completed by EnvironmentaLEE members showing that a significant number of the people in the area use their property for subsistence — hunting, fishing and gardening — and that many of them have children and elderly occupants.

The hearing will continue throughout the week at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 1711 New Hope Church Road in Raleigh. There is no timeline for a final decision from Lassiter.

Lee County Government Board of Commissioners Room
106 Hillcrest Dr, Sanford, North Carolina 27330


WE GOT IT . CHECK out our fracking page ! 

Demonstration against Duke Energy’s Coal Ash Dumping in Chatham County-December 4, 2015

Court hearings on Lee and Chatham coal ash dumps begin- December 7, 2015

December 4- Chatham County residents and several organizations will gathered at 2:00 pm. to protest Duke Energy’s violation of the Brickhaven Community by continuing to dump coal ash despite legal challenges brought against the permitting of the landfill.  The demonstration will be at the corner of Moncure-Flatwoods and Corinth Roads. In addition to the protest, there will be speakers from Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump, EnvironmentaLEE, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), Clean Water for North Carolina and NC WARN. BREDL sent a letter to Duke Energy Chief Executive Officer Lynn Good on November 28, 2015, demanding that the energy giant “cease and desist” their violation of the Brickhaven community. Both Charah/Green Meadow and Duke Energy have been cited by the Division of Environmental Quality for violations at the Chatham County and Asheville coal ash sites in the past week.

Directions:  From Cary/Raleigh, take #1 bypass South and exit at Pea Ridge. Turn left onto Pea Ridge Rd., and follow road to stop sign with Fire Dept. on right. Turn left onto old #1 and take first paved road to right which is Corinth Road.  Go about 3 miles, pass Dickens RV Park, and Moncure Flatwoods Road is short distance on left. 

From Sanford, take #1 bypass North towards Raleigh, exit at Pea Ridge. Turn right to follow road to stop sign with Fire Dept. on right.  Turn left onto Old #1, take first right onto Corinth Road.  Go 3 miles pass Dickens RV Park.  Moncure Flatwoods Road is next paved road to left. 

about the video above .Wed, Sep 23 2015 11:00 AM 

From the North Carolina General Assembly, a press conference to announce a statewide coalition, Alliance of Carolinians Together Against Coal Ash, with speakers and demonstrations to tell DENR, Duke Energy, and NC decision makers that they are being held accountable and that a safe and permanent solution to coal ash across the state.

LOTS went on in SEPT and you can read about it in our newsletter put together Sarah Briggs and Deb Hall.  

Here are some of the things we have been up to in AUG 2015 
AUG 3rd we had a great anti coal ash meeting / anti quarry meeting at the meeting hall on Golf course rd . more on that here  http://www.sanfordherald.com/area-residents-rally-brainstorm-ways-to-fight-duke-coal-ash/article_85313d47-ab62-5174-b442-61cc040dbe03.html
Aug 12th We stood with CCACAD at the Chatham courthouse to speak against DENR permitting work on the Coal ash DUMP in Brickhaven. 
On Monday AUG 17th ROCK QUARRY HEARING , started at 6PM and ended at 3;30 AM YES AM ! OUR VP Debbie Hall stayed the WHOLE time and back up and ready for action for the next event listed below... You can find out about this meeting here http://www.sanfordherald.com/opinion/guest-column-show-compassion-to-residents-facing-proposed-quarry/article_ec149320-48f3-11e5-9a3c-0feb197ea224.html
Small protest on Tues, Aug 18, 12PM noon, in Moncure close Charah's office 739 on Old US Hwy 1 We joined in "Hands Across Our Land" ! 
Debbie Hall , VP of EnvironmentaLEE coordinated a combined Lee/Chatham action.
Joining in the National Day of Action 'Hands Across Our Land'
 Grassroots groups in eight states coordinated local actions, virtually “holding hands” in solidarity with others across the nation to call attention to the plight rural America faces as the fossil fuel industry attempts to build more and more new infrastructure. The states include Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Oregon.
AUG 24th we went to the The Mining & Quarry zoning public information meeting more on that here http://www.sanfordherald.com/news/fracking-restrictions-challenged/article_fe8c2b50-4b7b-11e5-bd56-5f3186dc4359.html 
AUG 31st ELEE community ANTI-Coal ash & quarry meeting , to find out more on meetings and events click tab above ...

To find a great letter written by Therese Vick to the Chairman Gerald Carroll of NC Environmental Management Commission and the Director of DENR Ms. Sheila Holman on the permits for coal ash dumping in Lee and Chatham go here .


July 18th Terica's report to BREDL.org of EnvironmentaLEE.org’s progress and goals

ELEE has been busy , we have several threats coming at us at once …

fracking ,which right now we are working for restricting the frackers from coming by pushing for safe zoning , statewide banning of course and hopefully a moratorium against fracking in Lee Co till then. Chatham will be doing a moratorium this July 20th.

A coal ash dump of 8 million tons or more on top of our watershed and just 10 miles or so as the coal ash flies , across 2 rivers the DEEP and CAPE in between, they intend to dump 12 million tons in Chatham also.

Then with this we have recently found that our new Sanford WWTP may want to clean the untreated leachate from 2 coal ash dumps! Where we also found out …the WWTP would Dump the sludge form this on farms and call it ‘Free fertilizer in Chatham and Lee also .‘We just recently visited the WWTP and spent nearly 3 hours learning about it.

Thursday: Keely Wood just placed a large plywood sign in a private yard as close as we could across the street from Duke Energy's hired hands Charah Inc. New Head Quarters in Moncure .The sign says: Coal ash = loss of property value

Now this week we have also found out there is a threat of a large quarry near Carolina Trace , who have reached out to us for help on the AQ of living near it.

We have been having public anti-coal ash meetings since Dec 2014, but may have to broaden our topics to all of the above, we do not have the able bodied people to have more meetings on separate issues.

We have helped raise $1000 online as a team effort with BREDL & CCACAD for the legal fees to fight Duke Energy and Charah.

We have also had raised nearly as much through several fundraisers we had, including 50/50 drawing, Big yard-sale , setting up a table at the Farmers Market several times, Hosted our local historian/storyteller to give the History of Lee County and the coal mine disaster and we are always working on more

We have also been attending local officials meeting to keep a check on them and raise our concerns on all the above. Worked on getting grants to help us with our goals. Been taking civil disobedience training as well.

All under the wonderful guidance of Therese Vick .

I know I am missing things here but we are so busy going forward it is hard to look back.

JULY 20th 2015 , Debbie Hall on left and sign maker Keely Wood stand in front of the Historical Pittsboro courthouse while the BOC decided unanimously for a 2 year moratorium against fracking ! 

We just placed this sign as close as we could across the street from Duke Energy's hired hands Charah Inc New HeadQuarters . 

Thanks to ELEE's  Keely Wood and husband for supplying the sign and

posing with sign Judy Hogan of Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump for helping arrange the home for the sign!

Anti Coal Ash and Fracking Rally  / 

Links to stories 
 Rally kicks off campaign against ‘dirty industry’
Feb. 12, 2015 @ 10:10 PM

Kathryn Trogdon

Kathryn Trogdon | The Sanford Herald More than 30 people pray at a rally at Mount Calvary Baptist Church on Colon Road in Sanford Thursday, where they attended to take a stand against "dirty industry" in Lee County, including coal ash and hydraulic fracturing.


More than 30 people stood on the edge of Duke Energy's proposed coal ash storage site in Lee County Thursday for a press conference, rally and prayer vigil to kick off a three-state campaign against “dirty industry,” including coal ash and hydraulic fracturing.

Organized by Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and its local chapters, including EnvironmentaLEE, “Safeguard America's Resources,” the multi-issue campaign to halt natural gas contamination, began Thursday through press conferences, marches, rallies and prayer vigils.

“There are actions in other counties in North Carolina. There are actions in Virginia. There are actions in Georgia ... trying to talk about taking our rights back from dirty industry,” Therese Vick, community organizer for BREDL, said. “A community has a right to say 'no.'”

At the Lee County gathering at Mount Calvary Baptist Church on Colon Road, EnvironmentaLEE members called for the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources to deny Duke Energy's permit application to relocate coal ash to Chatham and Lee counties.

“We are fighting against dirty industries like Duke Energy, the largest utility in the country, trying to invade the smallest county in North Carolina,” EnvironmentaLEE member Marsha Ligon said in a statement. “We represent the loss of a basic American right -- the right to be secure in our homes without private companies taking our land, polluting our air and ruining our rural setting.”

Local civic officials, including Ervin Fox, president of the local NAACP chapter, and Ann McCracken, chairwoman of Lee County Democratic Party, also attended the event.

“This is God's creation, and God put man here to care for it,” Fox said. “We don't want dumping here. We stand with you, and we ask others to stand with you.”

Besides Duke Energy's plan to store coal ash in Lee County, Fox also wanted to combat hydraulic fracturing in Lee County “because both are dangerous.”

In regard to hydraulic fracturing, Vick highlighted local legislators' introduction of House Bill 76/Senate Bill 72 — with sponsors who included Rep. Robert Reives II, D-Lee; Rep. Brad Salmon, D-Harnett; and Sen. Valerie Foushee, D-Chatham — disapproving of the state Mining and Energy Commission's fracking regulations.

Duke Energy Spokesperson Jeff Brooks said although the company knew about Thursday's event through local media, staff was not aware of the specifics of the event beforehand.

“Duke Energy respects the perspectives and opinions that have been shared in Lee and Chatham counties and [is] committed to meeting the requirements of the state while considering the needs of the local community,” he said.

Some Lee County residents plan to attend the Moral Movement Mass March, hosted by the HKONJ People's Assembly Coalition, at 10 a.m. Saturday at 2 E. South St. in Raleigh. EnvironmentaLEE also will host its next meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Sanford 517 Club at 517 Golf Course Lane.

“We won't back down,” Ligon said. “The little heart of the community we're standing on right now will break under the weight of Duke Energy's toxic waste.”

2.Activists demand VSU divest from fossil fuels
3. Protests around the South target fossil fuels in run-up to Global Divestment Day
here is the pre Press release 

Lee County Grassroots Organization Opposing Coal Ash Dumping and Fracking
Email: [email protected]

Media Advisory February 6, 2015
Contact: Deb Hall 919-775-7506
Press Conference and Rally at Proposed Coal Ash Dump Site

On February 12, 2015 members of EnvironmentaLEE and other concerned residents will gather at Mount Calvary Baptist Church 1713 Colon Rd., Sanford NC.
What: Press conference, rally, and prayer vigil at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
Who: Concerned citizens from Lee County
When: Thursday, February 12th at 1:00 PM
Where: Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 1713 Colon Rd, Sanford NC 27330
Why: 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, community self-determination, and property rights.
~Colorful visuals~

Go here to see a video from the Sanford Herald too