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Thanks for the Comments on the Proposed Sweetheart Coal Ash Settlement

Thanks for the Comments on the Proposed Sweetheart Coal Ash Settlement

Duke Energy and DENR proposed a sweetheart settlement that would allow Duke to indefinitely postpone correcting ongoing illegal discharges and indefinitely postpone cleaning up contamination from coal ash waste ponds, and public comments on proposed settlement are almost unanimously opposed to the settlement. Now it is up to DENR and the court to determine if the proposed settlement should be modified or scrapped.

Thanks for the Comments on the Proposed Sweetheart Coal Ash Settlement

Riverbend Ash Waste Ponds on Mountain Island Lake. Photo by Nancy Pierce. Flight by Southwings.

Thousands say no to Duke Energy's coal-ash settlement

By Bruce Henderson

Public sentiment is heavily against a proposed settlement of coal-ash lawsuits filed by North Carolina environmental regulators against Duke Energy.

The state sought injunctions against Duke earlier this year for water contaminated by ash at its Riverbend power plant west of Charlotte and its Asheville plant.

In a settlement proposed in July, Duke agreed to assess the sources and extent of contamination and pay a $99,000 fine. A Wake County Superior Court judge will rule on the proposal once it’s presented in final form.

But the verdict is already in from the court of public opinion: No deal.

Virtually all the 4,939 comments filed before an Aug. 14 deadline opposed the settlement or urged the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to hold a hearing on it.

“We are frankly dismayed and perplexed that DENR would support such an ineffectual and meaningless settlement,” wrote a Charlotte couple who live on Mountain Island Lake.

Added another lake resident: “Leaving the coal ash where it is simply invites a disaster for the health of all those who rely on Mountain Island Lake for drinking water, let alone the environmental impact and harm to the marine and plant life.”

You can view Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins' comments at


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Tell your Riverkeeper if you see:

  • Sewage Overflows
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  • Illegal clearing of buffer areas
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  • Unpermitted discharges
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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.

To report North Carolina spills or fish kills, call your local regional Department of Environment & Natural Resources office during normal business hours (704-663-1699 for most Catawba basin areas or (828) 296-4500 for Burke, Caldwell, McDowell and other mountain counties) or 800-858-0368 after hours.  (For more information on NC spill reporting, click here)


The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare North Carolina, the North Carolina Conservation Network, River Network and the Waterkeeper Alliance.  It also in in an alliance with Clean Air Carolina to address issues, such as sprawl, that cause air and water problems.

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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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