SCEN member Appalachian Voices started off 2020 with an incredible victory. Earlier this month they received word that the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has reached a settlement with Duke Energy to excavate roughly 80 million tons of coal ash at six of the utility’s coal-fired power plants. This is an incredible win that will positively impact the surrounding communities, making it safer for all residents to enjoy their drinking water without coal ash contamination. At the same time this outcome will impact overall climate change by reducing the amount of plastic water bottles consumed in these communities; now they will be able to safely utilize their main water source.
The settlement came as a recompense to Appalachian Voices and other non-profit organizations that have been determined for years to make Duke Energy clean their coal ash facilities. Earlier last year Duke had appealed an original petition to clean these sites by the NC Department of Environmental Quality saying that it would be too expensive, and it would raise prices for utility users. With the power of Appalachian Voices and other non-profits, the Southern Environmental Law Center (also a SCEN member) was able to halt their appeal by showing the overall impact these coal ash sites are having on surrounding communities as well as the real cost of the project versus the projected price Duke was using to scare off utility users from complaining.
Appalachian Voices continues to show us the power of perseverance. We must all continue to fight for what is right even though it is rarely the easiest thing to do. Keep up the amazing work, we are all here to help and support you!