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Court Allows Catawba Riverkeeper to Intervene in Statewide Coal Ash Lawsuits

Court Allows Catawba Riverkeeper to Intervene in Statewide Coal Ash Lawsuits

The Catawba Riverkeeper will be a full party in a civil prosecution brought by North Carolina against Duke Energy for coal ash pollution at its Allen and Marshall plants on Lakes Wylie and Norman, Mecklenburg County Superior Court has ruled. The Southern Environmental Law Center sought to intervene on behalf of the Riverkeeper in the State’s action against Duke Energy. Duke Energy opposed the participation of the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Riverkeeper

Court Allows Catawba Riverkeeper to Intervene in Statewide Coal Ash Lawsuits

Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman

Press Release from the Southern Environmental Law Center

For Immediate Release: November 18, 2013


Kathleen Sullivan, 919 967 1450 or

Frank Holleman, SELC, 864- 979-9431 or

Sam Perkins, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, 704-679-9494 or




CHARLOTTE, N.C.— “Because of this ruling, we will be at the table working to protect these important lakes and drinking water reservoirs from Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash pollution,” said Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center.  “Duke Energy sought to close the Riverkeeper out of the case, but the Court rejected Duke’s position.”

Duke Energy stores millions of tons of coal ash in unlined lagoons on the banks of both Lake Wylie and Lake Norman on the Catawba River.  These lagoons contaminate groundwater with toxic substances, and the coal ash lagoon at Allen on Lake Wylie is leaking contaminated water into the drinking water reservoir.  Lake Wylie provides drinking water to Belmont, N.C., and Rock Hill, S.C., and Lake Norman provides drinking water to Mooresville and Charlotte.  The North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources has determined that Duke Energy is violating North Carolina clean water laws due to its coal ash pollution at its plants on both lakes and that Duke Energy’s pollution “poses a serious threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the people of North Carolina” and “serious harm to the water resources of the state.”

Allen Steam Station Ash Ponds

Ash ponds at Allen Steam Station on Lake Wylie


“Duke Energy’s coal ash is polluting all the drinking water reservoirs on the Catawba River in the Charlotte region,” said Sam Perkins, the Catawba Riverkeeper.  “We will work in this case to see that Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash pollution is cleaned up.”

North Carolina has also brought a civil prosecution against Duke Energy for its coal ash pollution of Mountain Island Lake, a third drinking water reservoir on the Catawba River that serves Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Gastonia, and Mount Holly.  Previously, the Court also allowed the Riverkeeper to participate in that civil prosecution, again over the objection of Duke Energy.



About the Southern Environmental Law Center

The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of more than 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.




About the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a nonprofit organization with members in South and North Carolina that works to protect and restore the Catawba/Wateree River and its watershed.






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Click here to fill out a pollution report or to report water pollution to Catawba Riverkeeper by phone, call 1-888-679-9494 or 704-679-9494.  In addition, to informing your Riverkeeper, you should also report spills or contamination to federal, state and local environmental officials.

To report South Carolina water pollution call 1-888-481-0125.

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Fish Advisories

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Fish consumption advisories have been issued throughout the Catawba-Wateree River basin.  Many of these advisories are the result of testing initiated by Catawba Riverkeeper and confirmed by state and local officials.  For a chart identifying fish types with the applicable advisories for the Charlotte area, click here.   For more information about the fish advisories, click here.

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