WBTV Speak Out Editorial: Clean Up the Coal Ash

WBTV Speak Out Editorial: Clean Up the Coal Ash


"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.

39,000 tons – catch that: 39,000 TONS – of toxic coal ash recently spilled from a Duke Energy power plant into the Dan River,

coating the waterway for 70 miles downstream.

It also brought to light an uneasy relationship between the nation's largest utility and regulators at the N. C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Concern over pollution from coal ash ponds Duke Energy operates on our state's waterways resulted in an eyebrow-raising fine of just $99,000 last year.

Worse, there was no order for the $50 billion company to clean up the unlined ponds.

Watch-dog groups say that our D-E-N-R has been rendered toothless –

its budget slashed and employees instructed by politicians to green-light projects and issue few violation notices.

We think it's time to remove the politics and make public safety the priority.

Of major concern locally are two ponds covering 71 acres on Mountain Island Lake.

Duke has apologized for the Dan River spill, and says it is now committed to cleaning up some of its ponds…

but we're uneasy about who'll foot the bill.

Duke has long prided itself as being a good corporate citizen.

Now would be the time to show that it really is.

Tell us what YOU think. SpeakOut@wbtv.com