Good for the Charlotte Observer. This morning their editorial page calls for Duke Energy to finally do something about its coal ash ponds. Four days after a Duke coal ash poind started leaking harzardous chemicals into the Dan River, there is still no word from Duke that it is even considering revising how it deals with leftover coal ash. That's not remotely good enough. The Dan River mess is a terrible reminder that critics of coal ash ponds have been right along about the disastrous potential of these unlined, ill-tended sludge pits. Here is a key excerpt from the Observer's editorial:
What can Duke do? Clean the unlined ponds. Recycle the coal ash or move it to dry, lined landfills. That's what two South Carolina utilities have agreed to do in settling a lawsuit with the Southern Environmental Law Center, Catawba Riverkeeper and other groups. Yes, moving the coal ash is more expensive than leaving it where it is, but it's nowhere near the legal and financial cost of a coal ash failure that contaminates a water supply.
You can read the rest of the editorial here if you have a digital subscription to the daily.
As the Observer points out, the Riverbend coal ash pond that sits next to Mountain Island Lake (which is, if a reminder is needed, the source of Charlotte's drinking water) is unlined, just like the Dan River pond that is now polluting the Dan River. This is probably a good time for Charlotteans to jump up and down and tell Duke Energy to quit bullshitting everyone and get to work making these damned nasty things safe - especially at a time when the people currently running the Department of Energy and Natural Resources are more interested in making Duke look good and promoting abstract libertarian ideology than in getting to the bottom of the problem. If you agree, you're in luck because at noon today, a protest of Duke's coal ash policies will take place outside company headquarters in the Duke Energy building ("Voltron," as many call it) at 550 S. Tryon St.