Duke Energy protesters gather in Stokes County

WALNUT COVE, N.C. — Citizens rallied in Walnut Cove Friday, addressing issues related to Duke Energy’s coal ash spill in Eden and questioning the governor’s ties to the power company. The event was near Duke Energy’s Belews Creek Steam Station.

Gerrick Brenner with Progress NC Action said the press conference was planned four days ahead of a hearing for the U.S. Attorney’s federal investigation.

“In the spirit of this grand jury hearing happening on Tuesday, we wanted to provide some evidence of our own,” Brenner said.

“Gov. McCrory owns at least $10,000 in Duke Energy stock,” Brenner added. “There are potentially some serious conflicts of interest. But he won’t say how much stock he owns.”

Gov. McCrory has repeatedly denied any allegations of favoritism toward Duke Energy. He worked for the company for 28 years. He told FOX8 he is disappointed Duke Energy did not have sufficient knowledge of infrastructure at the Eden site.

Kim Porter with NC Warn also addressed cleanup of Duke Energy’s coal ash sites around the state, saying, “All toxic coal ash should be moved to lined landfills away from water sources and residential communities so it cannot poison our drinking water.”

In a letter Wednesday, Duke Energy promised the state it would “permanently close the Dan River ash ponds and move ash away from the river.”

It also said they were working to move ash away from at least three other sites. The plan did not specifically address coal ash waste from the Belews Creek Steam Station in Stokes County. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources recently notified Duke Energy it was violating permit requirements at that location.

Stokes County resident Linda Hicks said, “We know it’s right here on Belews Creek, too, the same kind of mess is going to happen if something isn’t done.”

The Duke Energy letter said cost estimates for cleaning up coal ash sites would depend on which methods were approved. It did not detail who would pay for the cleanup. It said long-term cleanup plans were still in development.

The company estimates it will take 24-30 months to clean up and close the Eden site.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is calling Duke Energy’s plan “inadequate.”

“Clean up this mess,” insisted Linda Sutton, who spoke at the press conference as a Duke customer. “And most of all, do not — I repeat do not — put the cost of this cleanup on the backs of the citizens.”

23 comments

  • its my business

    Thanks to everyone who came out to protest Duke Energy’s coal ash spill in Eden, NC. The company estimates it will take 2 to 3 YEARS to clean up and close the Eden site. We do not drink the water in Eden and don’t even use the tap to brush our teeth. I cringe when I take a shower. truth be known, we haven’t been drinking the water in Eden, NC for several years past.

    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is calling Duke Energy’s plan “inadequate.”

    “Clean up this mess,” insisted Linda Sutton, who spoke at the press conference as a Duke customer. “And most of all, do not — I repeat do not — put the cost of this cleanup on the backs of the citizens.”

    What a shame! i can’t even water my plants and upcoming vegetables with this water. I wouldn’t eat them if I did.

    Signed,
    Outraged Consumer of Duke Power

  • Mark Stabler

    I hope these people do not think this coal ash dump was created since Governor McCrory took office. This dump, along with the others in North Carolina have been in existance for many, many years. Where was DENR and the past few Governors when these dumps were created and approved by Democrats. I would say unbelieveable …but I guess not.

    • Thomas

      A better question would be, where were all these protesters when Duke Energy was extending $10 million in credit (later forgiven) to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012? Where were the protesters when state inspectors failed to examine the storm drain at the Eden coal ash site in 2009 and 2012 when Democrat Bev Perdue was in office? That $10 million gift that Duke gave the Dems two years ago can be seen as a donation to encourage the EPA, under Obama, to look the other way and allow Duke to get by from compliance with state and federal standards; furthermore, that $10 million present to the Democratic Party could go a long way in cleaning up this massive ecological disaster that was years in the making (and not happen over-night because of those “evil Republicans” as pathetic, partisan attack ads from radical environmental groups suggest and mislead). I’m sure that millions of Duke customers who will likely foot the bill for this mishap would surely agree.

      • Kill The Poor

        If this had happened when Easley or Purdue where in office, republicans would have had a public execution scheduled for both of them. It’s a double standard that both sides use. It’s only an issue if the side you’ve been told to hate is in office. Duke Energy has paid off members of both parties, so that no matter who is in office, their interests are taken care of. If the RNC were held in Charlotte (Duke’s headquarters) they would have thrown around their money (the taxpayers money) just the same. Since you’re so interested in contributions and donations, the two top recipients of Duke Energy’s money in the state were Republican governor Pat McCrory $215,030 and Republican senator Richard Burr $94,895, as of the 3rd quarter of 2013. Three of the top four PACs to get Duke Energy “contributions” were the Republican party of California $224,000, The Republican National Senatorial Cmte $215,050, and The National Republican Congressional Cmte $191,500 as of the 3rd quarter of 2013. It also doesn’t change the fact that you current Governor worked for Duke for 30 years, and appointed the head of the DENR. But rednecks like you always have to take the Obama blame strategy.To you it’s always the “evil liberals”. Liberals are the only currupt criminals in Raleigh and Washington. To you republicans are saints incapable of doing no wrong. There saviors sent here to right all the wrongs created by those “evil liberals”. With logic and stupidity like that, no wonder this country is in the shit state it’s in. Divide the masses and conquer them all. Regardless of whose fault it is (we know it’s the liberals) the taxpayers will always pay for it. We fvck up, so let our customers, the taxpayers, pay for it. Capitalism at its finest.

  • SirAConanD

    So by this logic, every employee of every major corp. in this country, that gives stock options as part of end of year bonuses is personally to blame for anything that could go wrong at any of these plants. I.E. Dupont chemical, Exxon, B.P., Ford Motor( car recalls). This opens up a whole new chapter for all the junk laweries. They can run all kinds of advertisements on T.V. for class action suites.

  • kill-a-watt

    What a bunch of idiots. When those folks get on TV protesting killing of animals to make fur coats, they sure don’t wear fur coats while doing it. If you all want to really make a difference I’ll tell you can do. Cut the lights off at your house. Doesn’t bother you quite that much? Didn’t think so. Duke Energy is a business and is in business to make money. They will clean it up like they say they will. But, like all other regulations that are imposed on energy companies, the cost will be passed on to the consumers. Duke is not a Government agency with an unlimited supply of taxpayer dollars. You all want to complain when Duke asks for a rate increase. They are providing a product for you as cheaply as possible and the price you pay is regulated by government. You all benefitted from having that ash go in an ash pond. It was the cheapest way to store that ash and you had no problem with it until now. And don’t be fooled by the state. Don’t think for a second that everything at any power plant is heavily regulated by the state inspectors. You can’t build a lean-to at your house without an inspector sticking his nose in your business if he gets a chance. So, to think that all of these sites didn’t pass the states “standards” and meet any “regulation” that had been set forth is foolish.

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