Tuesday, March 18, 2014

And Yet Again ...

(Cartoon by Ted Rall and swiped from his blog, which you all should visit anyway.  Click on image to enlarge.)

For the second time this year, Duke Energy has hit the news with another nasty bit of dumping. 

From the Los Angeles Times:

While poring over regulatory documents for Duke Energy coal ash ponds, environmentalists at the Waterkeeper Alliance grew suspicious of the way the giant utility was handling the toxic ash waste left over from burning coal.

They decided to send up a team in an aircraft to photograph Duke's shuttered Cape Fear coal-burning power plant and ash ponds, tucked into piney woods in this tiny community in central North Carolina.

The photos revealed what the Waterkeeper Alliance says is evidence that Duke, the nation's largest electric utility, is deliberately pumping toxic coal ash wastewater from the containment ponds into a canal that eventually feeds into the Cape Fear River, a source of drinking water for downstream cities.

In the photos, two portable pumps and hoses can be seen drawing water from a coal ash pond and dumping into the canal and into nearby woods. According to the environmental group, that is a criminal violation of the Clean Water Act and state laws.  ...

State regulators said the pumping could be illegal, and added that they were investigating the incident.

The allegations came as Duke and state regulators are under intense public and political pressure following the massive Feb. 2 Duke Energy coal ash spill that coated the Dan River with toxic coal ash sludge for at least 70 miles in North Carolina and Virginia. Hazardous heavy metals such as arsenic and lead were dumped into the river.   [Emphasis added]

What is so maddening about this news is that it took a citizen's group, Waterkeeper Alliance, to uncover this latest dump.  The state agency was fully aware of the prior problems, yet it appears it simply closed the books after the February 2 spill, not checking out the other sites within the state. 

What is up with that?

That's what the feds wants to know:

Federal prosecutors have announced a criminal investigation into the relationship between the state agency and Duke Energy. They have said they are seeking evidence of any money or gifts exchanging hands.

Kudos to Waterkeeper Alliance for doing another fine job.  I suggest you click on the link to their official site, nose around a bit, and check to see if they have a local unit you could support in some fashion.

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