Legislators want an expanded coal ash study

Legislators want an expanded coal ash study.
State Rep. Dana Bumgardner and state Sen. Kathy Harrington, both Republicans from Gastonia, introduced the bill late Tuesday requiring further study of an unnamed neighborhood — apparently in or near their legislative districts — to see whether drinking-water wells beyond a previous half-mile study limit have been affected by hexavalent chromium, a chemical that can cause cancer.
Changes made last year to North Carolina’s coal ash law require Duke Energy to provide either of those options at no cost to residents served by wells and who live within a half-mile of a company coal ash basin.
Neither Bumgardner nor Harrington was available to comment Wednesday.
Bumgardner’s receptionist said he would be out through today because of a death in his family.
The neighborhood the bill refers to apparently is located near the coal-fired Allen Steam Station that Duke Energy operates on the outskirts of the suburban Gaston County community of Belmont.
“A large body of science and research demonstrates that ash basins are not impacting these residents,” Sheehan said generally of people living on well water near the utility’s ash basins.
Evidence is strong that hexavalent chromium acts as a carcinogen when it is airborne and humans inhale it.
Sheehan said that even though Duke Energy believes its coal ash ponds did not pollute drinking water wells near its 31 coal ash ponds statewide, the utility agreed to provide new water supplies to nearby residents in a compromise that enables the power company to cap some of its ponds in place — as opposed to excavating them and burying the material in a landfill.
Coal ash zoomed to statewide prominence three years ago when a large spill occurred from an ash basin at the retired Dan River Steam Station near Eden.

Learn More