Lawmakers Betray Belmont Residents for Duke Energy
After a proposing new bill that pushes back the deadline for the coal ash clean-up to 2029, it's clear that the state has sided with Duke Energy. Residents of Belmont continue to suffer from this coal ash, which could stay for another 13 years in Belmont. Duke continues to provide bottled water to residents closest to the ponds, but won't admit their faults. Their giveaways are merely an act of good faith and is definitely not a solution to the real environmental issues that are plaguing these neighborhoods.
On Friday, McCrory received a bill that allows the state to consider giving Duke Energy more time to clean out ash ponds — the riverside ponds where liquefied coal ash is stored —at all but four of the plants. It also offers another possible method for cleaning the ash pits if the company repairs and upgrades on-site dams and helps to provide neighbors an alternative water source.
The four plants classified as high risk, including Riverbend Steam Station in Mount Holly, must have the ash moved off site by the end of 2019. The coal ash at the other plants, including Allen Steam Station in Belmont, has to be moved by the end of 2024. The bill allows Duke to push that deadline to 2029 and gives Duke the option to cap the coal ash on site with a five-layer covering so long as the company meets state demands.
For a new source of water, state lawmakers said in the bill they prefer Duke to help get houses connected to public water if they’re within a half-mile of a coal ash pond but will also accept a filtration system installed in the houses.
Debra Baker, another neighbor of the Allen Steam Station, said she wants more information on whether city water means paying taxes she didn’t have to when she had well water.
“We didn’t do anything wrong,” she said. “Once again, I feel as if the state has slapped us in the face.”