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Excerpt: A study commissioned by environmentalists contends the state-approved plan for monitoring the safety of a coal ash repository in Chatham County is unlikely to detect groundwater contamination.
The study by a hydrogeologic and engineering consulting firm also found that an increase in groundwater contaminants there, including arsenic, cobalt, lead, copper and zinc, could be related to coal ash.
The environmentalists' report also claims that the original study paid for by Duke Energy mischaracterized groundwater flow patterns, saying its findings were "incorrect, meaningless, and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of groundwater flow" — notably, that water would have to flow uphill for the previous study's findings to be accurate.
APRIL 2018 UPDATE
Headed back to court again....
A three-judge panel of the NC Appeals Court today ruled unanimously that Lassiter improperly dismissed the case, which concerns the disposal of coal ash in former clay mines in Chatham and Lee counties. And Fox improperly reweighed and rewrote Lassiter’s decision without explanation.
MAY 16th 2017 UPDATE : —DEQ and Charah Inc have appealed the judge ruling that areas are limited to prior excavation. Charah wanted to continue to dig in Moncure during the appeal process, but ruling will stand until hearing is complete. Charah Inc will not be able to dig new areas.
Judge Fox rules in our favor!!!
WHEREFORE IT IS HERBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED THAT:
1. The Final Decision is AFFIRMED as it relates to the use of the areas already mined or otherwise excavated in the two coal ash disposal sites (Brickhaven and Colon Road), and
2. The Final Decision is REVERSED as to areas not already mined or otherwise excavated, and the two mine reclamation permits were issued improperly by the Respondents and are hereby REVOKED.
This may not be all we need to completely stop it but it goes a long way down that road. The losing parties (DEQ and Charah) can appeal to the Court of Appeals but we’ll face that if they do. Right now it’s a major win.
Court Rules for Communities on Duke Energy Coal Ash Landfills in Chatham and Lee Counties
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2017
Therese Vick (919) 345-3673 therese.vick@g,ail.co
Court Rules for Communities on Duke Energy Coal Ash Landfills in Chatham and Lee Counties
Superior Court Judge Carl Fox has issued a ruling which will halt any further excavation at the Brickhaven and Colon coal ash landfills, owned by Charah, Inc. The ruling, issued March 31, 2017, states in part “…the two mine reclamation permits were issued improperly by the Respondents [The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)] and are hereby REVOKED.” The legal challenge was brought against permits issued by DEQ by Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump (CCACAD) and EnvironmentalLEE (ELEE) in 2015.
Judy Hogan, president of Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump said that Judge Fox’s decision “gives me great pleasure in so many ways.” She continued, “We watched our comments at open hearings being ignored, the permits to do this being given rapidly, and the trucks running, then the trains- but we kept saying to our skeptics: It’s not a done deal!” ELEE co-chair Marsha Ligon echoed Hogan, “Good things come to those who wait, we are thrilled that Judge Carl Fox ruled in our favor agreeing that the plans for future use of the Colon and Brickhaven clay pits cannot be entirely considered an act of reclamation.”
BREDL organizer Therese Vick stressed that “not one more shovel of dirt should be moved at either site. The DEQ improperly issued the mining reclamation permits- and they knew it. Based on the evidence, Judge Fox agrees. The DEQ is under new leadership. It is time for Secretary Michael Regan to right this injustice, and stop trying to defend the indefensible."
With many clay mines across the state, the ruling has major implications for all communities. There has not been another permit application for coal ash being used as “mine reclamation” since Charah submitted their applications for the Lee and Chatham sites in November 2014.
Also The Rant wrote about it too!
For the record there is a WWI African American Soldier McKinley Johnson and his family #buried at the #Colon site. Yet Duke Energy & Charah seems to care less about this family's resting place.
If anyone would like to learn more about the graves go here http://www.environmentalee.org/.../1994853-gravesite-story-
We were so excited when Sarah Briggs one our youngest members told us she had a project to help fight coal ash dumping in Sanford . Here is the finished product
From the Sanford Herald in May — Lee County High School senior Sarah Briggs was recently filmed for Alliance for Climate Education’s ongoing film project.
ACE staff member Wen Lee traveled Monday night from Los Angeles to Sanford to film Briggs speaking out about coal ash set to be dumped in Lee County. ACE, a program that strives to educate young people on the science of climate change and empower them to take action, updates its assembly presentation with new teen interviews, including Briggs’. The LCHS senior's film is on coal ash, with a focus on fossil fuels.
Briggs said a couple of the features before her included a teenager from California, speaking about the drought and why it’s concerning. Another featured another from New Jersey talking about Hurricane Sandy and its effects.
Lee said ACE heard about Briggs' story and wanted to document it.
"We thought it was such a great story," she said. "We were excited to come out and do a story on her and the personal impact of coal ash."
One of the ways the nonprofit organization does so is by giving assembly presentations to schools in several regions across the U.S. The 40-minute presentations include music, video and interviews of teens personally impacted by environmental issues.
Briggs said she didn’t know of ACE prior to being asked to participate.
“The way I got in contact with them was through one of their regional headquarters or bases,” she said. “There are five of them and one is in Raleigh. Each of the regional offices reaches out to environmental organizations about teenagers who are interested in environmental issues. I was forwarded [ACE’s email request] by EnvironmentaLee.”
Lee met Briggs Tuesday morning, and the pair dove into filming over the next two days.
“On Tuesday, [Lee] filmed me at school, engaging with my peers, with the school’s permission of course,” Briggs said. “She filmed EnvironmentaLee’s meeting and just of my daily life and day-to-day activities.
“Wednesday she interviewed me, which was the main piece. We spent three hours in my backyard doing that, in all the greenery. The focus of the film was on coal ash, so she asked me why I care about coal ash, why I’m concerned about it. Then she asked me some general questions like why I care about the environment.”
Environmental issues sparked Briggs’ interest in ninth grade.
“In my freshman year of high school I took AP environmental science with Dr. [Stephen] Snyder, who no longer teaches here," she said. "By diving into the material as deeply as we did, it opened my eyes to all of the environmental degradation that’s happening.”
A couple years later, when fracking and coal ash first became environmental issues for Lee County, Briggs decided to reach out and join EnvironmentaLee.
June 9, 2016
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
For immediate release
June 9, 2016
Groups file appeal of coal ash permits to superior court
Pittsboro- Almost one year after the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) granted permits for Duke Energy’s coal ash landfills in Chatham and Lee Counties, community groups Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump (CCACAD) and EnvironmentaLEE (ELEE) and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) filed an appeal in superior court challenging Judge Melissa Owens Lassiter’s ruling on the structural fill and mining permits. The appeal, which was filed in Pittsboro shortly after a hearing there on the groups’ challenge to the 401 water quality certification, is based on DEQ’s manipulation of the permitting process, which allowed Charah, Inc. and Duke Energy to claim that the two sites- one in Lee and one in Chatham County to me called “mine reclamation “ in order to get them out from under solid wastes rules for landfills which would require a lengthier process and siting requirements which include local government approval. Therese Vick, community organizer for BREDL, reviewed thousands of pages of DEQ documents in researching this issue. “We feel that Judge Lassiter ruled in error. It is clear from emails provided by the Department of Environmental Quality that the DEQ collaborated with Duke Energy and Charah to come up with this scheme to side-step the permitting process for what are clearly landfills. This translated into legislation, the Coal Ash Management Act (CAMA) which created sacrifice zones in Lee and Chatham Counties. There are almost 100 clay mines in North Carolina, and Green Meadow/Charah has established another LLC with the Secretary of State- “Green Meadow II”. What is happening in these two counties will impact the entire state.”
Coal ash is currently being transported to Brickhaven, in Chatham County. Members of CCACAD have observed hundreds of trucks and train cars laden with coal ash coming into their small community. Judy Hogan, CCACAD Chair said: “The whole scheme of transporting hazardous coal ash from across North Carolina has been shot through with misinformation. Don Kovasckitz, Director of Lee County Strategic Services testified at the December 7th court hearing and made it clear that not only were the old clay mines (now wetlands) only a small portion of the planned landfills, but they would rise high above the natural terrain. Despite this, Judge Lassiter ruled for the state. All such landfills leak, which the state refuses to admit.”
In Lee County, Marsha Ligon, co-chair of ELEE describing the flawed process observed “The clay holes purchased for Duke's use by Charah were "reclaimed" years ago. Nature reclaimed the unearthed structures transforming them into complete ecosystems sustaining a wide variety of plant and animal habitats. Now those habitats are being destroyed, and coal ash deposited in NEW holes dug where none exist...that is NOT a reclamation. “
No decision has been made on the 401 certification challenge heard on June 1, 2016.
The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League was founded in 1984. The organization has a thirty-year track record of victories over polluting facilities. BREDL and their member chapters EnvironmentaLEE and Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump have filed legal challenges against the permits issued in June and August 2015.
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.
http://www.environmentalee.org/water-well-info After testing wells near the proposed coal ash dump site . We learned that some wells in Colon/ Osgood area were already contaminated from past dirty industry.
To see pictures of the grave site click here .
Here are ARTICLES very Important to read.
Coal Ash: SIX MYTHS the Utility Industry Wants You to Believe and SIX FACTS You Need to Know
PDF ash in the lungs
Coal Ash: The Toxic Threat to Our Health and Environment
Coal ash, one of the dirtiest secrets in American energy production....
Duke Energy- Charah must apply for various permits for both the Brickhaven & Colon sites. One of the permits includes submitting to the US ARMY Corps of Engineers & the North Carolina Division of Water Resources. They will take public comments until APRIL 6th on the current proposal.
Please see bullet points below on why these permits could be denied.
Please call Craig Brown with details, why this permit should be denied, and Karen Higgins at NCDWR.( email addresses included)
Yes, there will be a public comment in April, but we want our fight to start now.
you can download this below as a flyer here https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByDkdccABpJeeVh2NGRIc2FGOWlOZkNxczlyTVozd1ROS0Nz/view?usp=sharing
URGENT CALL TO ACTION:
Duke Energy- Charah must apply for various permits for both the Brickhaven & Colon sites. One of the permits includes submitting to the US ARMY Corps of Engineers & the North Carolina Division of Water Resources. They will take public comments until APRIL 6th on the current proposal. Permits can be denied for the following reasons: If citizens make clear points related to:
- Economics (decline of property values, the increase of EMT availability, minimal jobs creation, lawsuits, etc.)
- General environmental concerns, (lack of air monitors, air has no boundaries…)
- Wetlands ( wetlands surround are within site borders)
- Land use
- Recreation( Golf course fishing, boating, hunting)
- Water supply ( The sites are within the Cape Fear Watershed)
- Water quality ( many residents still depend on wells)
- Energy needs
- Safety ( constant flow of truck and train traffic will increase accidents, health problems, air pollution, lack of air quality rules)
- Food and fiber production (private farms will be affected by air particulars, large horse show facility nearby, goat milking farm nearby….)
- Mineral needs
- Consideration of property ownership, and, in general, the needs
- Welfare of the people, ( those adjacent to the property do not have the moneys available to relocate and will devastate property values)
The 404 Army Corps permit could be rejected, and an environmental impact statement required. We must act on this permit during the present period open for public comment until April 6.
Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, apply conditions or deny a permit for this proposal. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) and/or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity. The more citizen comment the more overall public interest!!
Comments should be submitted to US Army Corp of Engineers:
Craig Brown, PLEASE CALL HIM have your list of all the reason why:
at (919) 554-4884 ext 35. Raleigh Regulatory Field Office, 3331 Heritage Trade Drive, Suite 105 ,Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587,
NCDWR Central Office: 401 & Buffer planning permit
Attention: Ms. Karen Higgins, 401 and Buffer Permitting Unit
(USPS mailing address): 1650 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1650
firstname.lastname@example.org (919) 807-6360
Contact the Lee County BOC: DON’T BACK DOWN FROM DIRTY DUKE
Board of Commissioners Lee County:
BOC: Dr. Andre Knecht email@example.com 919.770.1875
BOC: Doc Oldham firstname.lastname@example.org 919-776-6615
BOC: Tim Sloan email@example.com 919-770-3861
BOC: Kirk Smith firstname.lastname@example.org 919-935-3197Blood Money stains!!
EPA Ruling on Coal Ash is SAD
The rules don't regulate coal ash disposal as tightly as environmental and community groups had wanted.
They put coal ash into the same disposal category as household trash and non-hazardous industrial solid waste, and leave the enforcement largely up to states and local governments.
The rules call for the closure of active surface impoundments and landfills that "fail to meet engineering and structural standards," according to the EPA.
They will also require regular inspections of the structural integrity of surface impoundments at active sites, the agency said, as well as monitoring and cleanup of unlined surface impoundments that are found to be leaching into groundwater.
The rules also require that new surface impoundments not be built in "sensitive areas such as wetlands and earthquake zones," and will require that they be lined.
Thanks Arlene for pointing out this article .
We are very proud both Lee and Chatham has a resolution on Coal Ash Dumping
This is the what the proposed Coal Ash Dump is supposed to look like in Sanford .