Chatham commissioners still oppose coal ash storage in county clay mines

Chatham commissioners still oppose coal ash storage in county clay mines (Image 1)

As Duke Energy waits for permit approval to begin moving coal ash to Chatham and Lee counties, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners is trying to figure out a way to avoid it.

The governing body met on Monday to discuss what options the county has available.

“It’s the largest issue we have before the board right now,” said Chairman Jim Crawford.

With millions of tons of coal ash that may have to move, Lee and Chatham counties could be the first to get it. But they’re not exactly rolling out the welcome mat.

“I’m very opposed to it,” said Judy Hogan, a farmer in Chatham County. “Large transport trucks twice the size of a regular dump truck will be driving down my road.”

Both county governments have filed resolutions alerting the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources and Duke Energy of their opposition to the ash storage. But with the state calling the shots for how the ash will be cleaned up, the counties are running out of options to fight it.

“Basically they cut us out of the picture and we’ve been working very hard to get some kind of authority to how this problem is going to be solved,” Crawford said. “There is the possibility of lawsuits, but also some kind of a negotiation with Duke.”

Duke Energy promises the ash will be stored in specially engineered liners with strict groundwater monitoring.

“I just think it’s bad for the environment and the residents who live here, and I think it’s being pushed on us,” said Bob Smith, a Lee County resident.

DENR organized a public comment hearing on Monday in Sanford. The next public meeting will be April 16 in Chatham County. They will have to approve Duke Energy’s permit before any ash is moved.

RELATED STORIES

Copyright 2015 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s