Hold Energy Company Responsible for Toxic Dumping

Duke Energy offices

Target: Lynn Good, Duke Energy Chief Executive Officer

Goal: Demand an end to the company’s dumping of toxic waste into watersheds

Following up after a previous spill, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently found that Duke Energy, a huge power company operating in North Carolina, is up to its old tricks again. In February tons of waste spilled from the company’s facilities into the Dan River, and individuals working with the EPA recently caught Duke employees in what appeared to be the act of intentionally dumping toxic waste into yet another watershed.

The wastewater came from holding ponds where coal ash and toxic heavy metals accumulate as byproducts of energy production. Duke has defended its actions as permitted “routine maintenance.” North Carolina has gone so far as to sue the company for pollution violations at 14 sites. In a separate case, Duke officials and state regulators are being called before a grand jury for questioning related to the February spill–one of the largest disasters of its kind.

This most recent and deliberate dumping shows that Duke Energy hasn’t learned its lesson. The company has committed to making improvements to prevent future disasters, and should be held to its word. But most importantly, Duke must immediately cease all further dumping of coal ash sludge into area waterways. Demand an end to this immoral and potentially illegal practice, and don’t let Duke Energy off the hook.


Dear Ms. Good,

It looks as though Duke Energy has continued its dumping of toxic coal ash sludge into North Carolina waterways. Aerial photos taken by EPA investigators at two ash ponds along the Cape Fear River appear to show Duke workers moving wastewater from collection ponds to the river’s headwaters.

Rather than deny these allegations, your company defended the actions as completely legal. Duke spokesperson Jeff Brooks claimed that state regulators had been notified of this “routine maintenance,” but couldn’t remember specifics. Spokespeople for the state contradicted his statements. Now company officials are being called before a grand jury for questioning.

All this comes on the heels of February’s disastrous spill of millions of gallons of coal ash sludge into the Dan River. Long before this major spill, the presence of contaminated coal ash in watersheds was a concern for local residents. Duke Energy has committed to improvements, and to cleaning up any damage. Yet the dumping continues.

I must insist that Duke Energy follow through with its commitment to clean up the Dan River, and to make improvements to its facilities to prevent future contamination. But beyond these necessary steps Duke must immediately cease the continued dumping of toxic waste into North Carolina’s rivers and waterways. There is nothing “routine” about such irresponsible and potentially illegal polluting.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Alexisisrael via Wikimedia

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