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EPA Agrees to Issue Coal Ash Regulations in 2014

EPA Agrees to Issue Coal Ash Regulations in 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency, in a win for North Carolina environmental groups, has agreed to issue by December the federal government’s first rules on coal ash.

EPA Agrees to Issue Coal Ash Regulations in 2014

Riverbend Coal Ash Waste Lagoons on Mtn. Island Lake near Charlotte

By Bruce Henderson


The EPA held hearings on ash in Charlotte and other cities in 2010 but has not issued rules on its disposal. Boone-based Appalachian Voices, Asheville’s Western North Carolina Alliance and other groups filed lawsuits two years ago to force the EPA’s hand.

In a consent decree filed late Wednesday with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the EPA agreed to publish a notice of final action by Dec. 19.

“It’s absolutely historic that we’re finally going to have a resolution of this,” said Matt Wasson, Appalachian Voices’ program director. “This has been going on not just since the (Tennessee ash) spill in 2008, but well before that.”

A dike rupture at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant spilled more than 1 billion gallons of ash slurry in 2008, covering 300 acres and flowing into two rivers. The incident brought national attention to coal ash, which contains metals that can be toxic in high doses.

North Carolina itself has drawn attention for lawsuits filed last year by the state, under pressure from environmental groups, against Duke Energy power plants that store ash in open ponds.

Groundwater is contaminated around each of those 14 ponds, although much of it may come from natural sources. Elements found in ash have also been found in Mountain Island Lake, Charlotte’s main water source, near Duke’s now-closed Riverbend power plant.

Duke agreed last year to pay for a water line to a neighborhood in the expected path of ash contamination in Wilmington. The state also ordered Duke to supply water to a home near Asheville where a well was apparently contaminated by coal ash.


The terms of the settlement can be found here.


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Jan 25, 2017 NC Riverkeeper Report
From the perspectives of 12 NC Riverkeepers, this report discusses how multiple environmental issues pose challenges in the pursuit of clean, plentiful water. Whether you are in North Carolina or downstream in South Carolina, read this report about the state of environmental enforcement.
Dec 13, 2016 Community Foundation of Gaston County grants $5,000 to CRF for Riverkeeper Program
The Community Foundation will fund Catawba Riverkeeper's work in Gaston County.
Dec 12, 2016 A Successful Launch of our Water Education Program at Great Falls Elementary
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation in partnership with 4-H Clemson Cooperative Extension successfully completed our pilot Education Outreach Program with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from Great Falls Elementary.
Sep 27, 2016 Lake Wateree Fall Cleanup a Sweeping Success
86 volunteers collected 5,490 pounds of trash from Lake Wateree
Jun 13, 2016 Dozens of Youth Reached in Water Education Outreach Program Pilot Lessons
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