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The controversy continues almost two months after a Duke Energy spill of toxic coal ash into the Dan River. First, the Waterkeeper Alliance discovered Duke Energy dumping some 61 million gallons of coal ash wastewater into yet another waterway - the Cape Fear River. Duke Energy has been cited eight times since the Feb. 2 Dan River spill!

Now, state regulators have withdrawn the sweetheart coal ash violation settlements offered in previous years and instead have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in to further investigate coal ash violations.

Today the Sierra Club released a poll showing that these inexcusable and shocking continued water violations are taking their toll on North Carolinians. Some highlights from the poll:

--A stunning 90 percent of North Carolina voters want Duke to clean up all coal ash sites in the state, including the Dan River spill, and 88 percent feel coal ash should be stored away from water in specially lined landfills.

--A large majority of North Carolina voters – 75 percent – are aware of the Dan River coal ash spill and there is broad concern about it within the state's electorate.

There is strong bipartisan support for regulating coal ash as a hazardous substance, to the tune of 83 percent of North Carolina voters, including super majorities of Democrats (91 percent), Independents (85 percent), and Republicans (75 percent).
--North Carolinians, particularly those who have heard the most about the spill, place the blame for it squarely on Duke Energy.

--North Carolinians strongly favor more regulation and enforcement when it comes to coal ash, and overwhelmingly believe that without this another spill will occur.

--70 percent of voters would support a candidate who favors strong regulations and enforcement to protect the water, air, and health of North Carolinians and to prevent future incidents like the recent coal ash spill, including 55 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Independents, and 87 percent of Democrats.


These results are strikingly similar to the poll we recently conducted in West Virginia. Taken together, the two polls demonstrate a clear finding that turns conventional wisdom on its head - people in states where the coal industry is still powerful want protections against coal pollution, and they want to support independent leaders who will stand up for clean air and water safeguards.  

This story is not going away, in part because residents of the affected states continue to suffer from these spills. In Charleston, residents are still not drinking their water and new test results revealed just today that the coal chemical MCHM is still leaking into the Elk River and showing up in household drinking water.

In North Carolina, officials say it will take at least two years to clean up the Dan River spill, while more coal ash problems are being revealed all the time. In Virginia, which also received some of the Dan River pollution, residents are angry and worried about their health, safety, and economy, and Governor McAuliffe has called on Duke to cover the costs of the cleanup.

The EPA has the tools it needs to prevent another Dan River spill from happening. As Politico reported this week, the EPA is coming under increased scrutiny for failing to finalize long-overdue coal water protections. No more delay – just ask the people of North Carolina. TAKE ACTION: It's time to protect our water from coal pollution.

Photo of the Dan River coal ash spill courtesy of Appalachian Voices.

Originally posted to DK GreenRoots on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 01:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well, tough shit for them. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bbctooman, LI Mike, StillAmused

    They are the ones who elected an entire state government comprised of a bunch of right-wing douchebags who bitterly oppose even the simplest environmental and safety regulations because those things are communist and muslim and besides, BENGHAZI!

    Maybe they'll think twice before they vote for idiots, or lounge around on Election Day and allow idiots to elect their legislature and governor.

    Same for West Virginians, too. Maybe having 400,000 citizens go without safe water for weeks, and continue to have serious doubts about their water months later-seriously, would YOU drink the water in Charleston? My friends who live there STILL won 't drink it..

    Hillbillies and Tarheels need to wake the fuck up and stop enabling these assholes in their State governments and their Congressional delegations

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 01:47:14 PM PDT

    •  I'll try to be less stupid in the future..... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftykook, Oh Mary Oh

      tell me who is better to vote for and I'll vote and donate and campaign for them.  North Carolina maybe had a liberal alternative but WV doesn't.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:20:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My WV friends aren't idiots... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh

        ...and I assume you aren't either (on the contrary, I think you're pretty smart and a good writer) but they, and you, are sorely outnumbered by people who vote for vile thugs, or don't vote at all and allow the tea party-types to take office.

        Same thing in NC- my friends down there aren't idiots either, but they are overwhelmed by the money-generated red tide washing over their state. At least their liberals are pushing back loudly and regularly, in Charleston, at the height of the spill catastrophe, the hard-working activist types were only able to get 150-200 people to rally at the Capitol (I was the lone Outside Agitator present) and only ONE legislator came to the rally, a very young local-area State Senator.  Seems to me there were more people at the counter-rally against the Westboro Loons after the recent mining disaster (I happened to be in town and went down and joined in) than the rally about the water contamination.

        (An aside: My Charleston friends were saying that they were very worried that the story was going to go down the memory hole and the news media would go away and the rest of the people in the country would forget about them. I think they were right.  I'm not a West Virginian, but I haven't forgotten!)

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 06:31:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Goofy-FVCKs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftykook, bbctooman, LI Mike

    They wanted a Republican governor and we all know that racist, right-wing, redneck, religious-zealot, republicans are bad for the economy, our democracy and the environment.

    GAWD-Dam goofy-fucks.  Obama and the Dems will save their goofy asses too if they don't keep voting the way they do in NC.

  •  Good! Now, will they elect people that will (0+ / 0-)

    write and implement those regulations?

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 02:30:54 PM PDT

  •  Stop electing (0+ / 0-)

    corrupt, servile Republicans (yeah, the generalization applies!).

    Those who aren't in Duke's pocket are too weak-kneed to repudiate those who are... a distinction without a difference.

    The GOP is a nature preserve for the lower third of the IQ scale, a gathering of personality disorders.

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