What’s Underground: Conservation Groups Move to Close or Cleanup Ash Pits Linked to Groundwater Contamination


Your Landscaping Fools  No One. photo: jpmatth

Your Landscaping Fools No One. photo: jpmatth

Conservationist files suit to shut-down or cleanup ash pits

By Anne Blythe for The News & Observer, republished by McClatchy

RALEIGH, N.C — Conservation groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission, Duke Energy and Progress Energy seeking the cleanup or shut-down of 14 ash pits that collect tons of waste from coal-burning power plants across the state.

The groups-Cape Fear River Watch, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance and Western North Carolina Alliance-are challenging a ruling in December by the Environmental Management Commission.

In a 9-2 ruling, the commission said Duke and Progress ash pits were subject to less stringent regulations than conservation groups contended and were not out of compliance with groundwater contamination standards.

The ruling was lauded by the utilities , as well as the politically powerful N.C. Chamber of Commerce, the N.C. League of Municipalities and the city of Raleigh, which feared more sweeping implications for hog waste lagoons, hazardous waste sites, underground storage sites and dry-cleaning solvent sites.

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