Angry Charlotte Residents Grill State Lawmakers At Packed Coal Ash Meeting

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by Kirk Hawkins

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Anger and outrage at a packed meeting organized by the environmental watchdog group, "We Love Mountain Island Lake" in Northwest Charlotte Monday night.

"When I hear you apologizing for Duke, that worries me and I'm skeptical," said one Charlotte resident.


The residents grilled state lawmakers after Duke Energy's CEO Lynn Good told an audience at Queens University on Friday that customers should have to pay the costs of dealing with the ash now. "There's no way that I can support putting the clean-up on the backs of rate payers and taxpayers," said one Charlotte resident at the meeting.


Duke Energy has until Saturday to let Governor Pat McCrory know how it will pay for the clean up.

A spill dumped at least 30 thousand tons of ash in the Dan River last month. And there is a very real concern that a coal ash pond spill could be two to three times worse in the Charlotte area because of the ash ponds near Mountain Island Lake, Lake Norman, and Lake Wylie, within a 30 mile strech of the Catawba River. "We definitely are in the bullseye for this, and we need our regulators and Duke Energy to step up and make this right," said We Love Mountain Island Lake Founder Sarah Behnke.


Demolition of ash basins is already underway at three closed sites in the Charlotte area.

Duke Energy promises to take another look at the condition of the rest of its ash basins in North Carolina. "I think that we all have a part in drinking water, its something that is a basic need of ours and something we should all rally around," said NODA Resident Antoine James.


The Justice Department is looking into the possibility of filing felony charges against Duke Energy and North Carolina's Department of Natural Resources for the coal ash spills as part of its grand jury investigation.
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