Denounce Proposed Pollution Loophole

water pipe pollution

Target: Tim D. Moffitt, Chairman of North Carolina’s House Regulatory Committee

Goal: Remove pollution loophole from recently proposed state legislation.

North Carolina’s recently proposed Senate Bill 612 would allow Duke Energy’s Riverbend Steam Station to spread harmful chemicals into Mountain Island Lake and surrounding private properties. Mountain Island Lake, located in Mecklenburg County, is the drinking water source for 860,000 people. The loophole would allow for chemicals such as arsenic, selenium, and mercury to enter into the water.

Although the coal-fired plant closed in February, the two ponds used to collect ash from its boilers (the devices used to create steam) still exist. These ponds are unlined and contaminants do leak from them. There are 500 foot buffers between the ponds and the lake; any contaminants that extend beyond these buffers must be cleaned-up by Duke Energy. If the loophole is passed, Duke Energy will have no clean-up responsibilities and no set boundaries. Furthermore, there would be no requirements to monitor the land around the lake. Homeowners’ property could be negatively affected by contaminated groundwater and drinking water.

Duke’s Riverbend Station operates under a state permit that does not regulate the amount of chemicals released. In fact, the amount of chemicals in the area’s groundwater and drinking water has not been monitored, even though samples taken by Duke University and the Riverkeeper Foundation have detected high levels of arsenic. Furthermore, the company has not set limits for the discharge of arsenic, selenium, or mercury under its National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems permit. Mecklenburg County recently filed a lawsuit against Duke Energy for an alleged violation of chemical requirements; the county contends that during the time period from 2011-2013, 59 instances of groundwater contamination above the legal limit were detected.

This legislation is currently being reviewed by the North Carolina House Regulatory Committee. By signing this petition, you are helping to denounce the Senate-sponsored loophole and urging state lawmakers to remove it from the bill. Duke Energy should be responsible for monitoring and cleaning up the chemicals that it releases into the environment, especially when such pollution has the potential to harm local homeowners.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Mr. Moffitt,

Your state’s recently proposed Senate Bill 612 would allow Duke Energy’s Riverbend Steam Station to spread harmful chemicals into Mountain Island Lake and surrounding private properties. As you are probably aware, Mountain Island Lake is the drinking water source for 860,000 people. The loophole would allow for chemicals such as arsenic, selenium, and mercury to enter into the water.

The company utilized two ponds to capture ash from its Riverbend Station’s boilers. There are 500 foot buffers between the ponds and the lake; any contaminants that extend beyond these buffers must be cleaned-up by Duke Energy. If the loophole is passed, Duke Energy will have no clean-up responsibilities and no set boundaries. Furthermore, there would be no requirements to monitor land around the lake; homeowners’ property could be negatively affected by contaminated groundwater and drinking water. Disturbingly, Mecklenburg County contends that during the time period from 2011-2013, 59 instances of groundwater contamination above the legal limit were detected.

This legislation is currently being reviewed by your committee. I am urging you to amend the bill and remove the Senate-sponsored loophole. Duke Energy should be responsible for monitoring and cleaning up the chemicals that it releases into the environment, especially when such pollution has the potential to harm local homeowners.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

photo credit: Rob Farrow via geograph

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594 Signatures

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