Duke Energy offers compensation for neighbors affected by coal ash

Maryam Mohamed 
  Staff Writer


On December 7, Duke energy announced that anyone who feels that they may suffer from water contamination from unlined coal ash pits will be given compensation.


This compensation plan includes a $5,000 “goodwill” payment in addition to gratuitous water bill payments, though it was not stated for how long water bills would be paid..  


Duke Energy issued this reimbursement shortly after the company’s pending lawsuits filed by law firms in Raleigh, Salisbury and Dallas, Texas. These firms represent hundreds of concerned clients who fear that this scandal will harm them.


Many have come forward and expressed their concern regarding this situation. Upper Neuse Riverkeeper Matthew Starr explained his disapproval in an article published by EcoWatch.  


“This spill is easily visible to anyone in a boat,” Starr stated, “The area looks like a winter wonderland of toxic coal ash as it has coated the water and trees… It is hard for me to understand how both Duke Energy and state regulators failed to notice such a large area of coal ash contaminating the Neuse River when they claim to have inspected these very ash ponds on Saturday.”


Around mid October, Duke Energy issued a press release saying that, “site inspections at the H.F. Lee Power Plant in Goldsboro, N.C., today confirm there was only very minor erosion of material from an inactive coal ash basin on the site.”


“The majority of that material,” Duke Energy’s statement continued, “which includes coal ash, remained very close to the inactive basin, on the berm or a few feet away on the basin roadway. The state team that inspected the facility determined that the amount of material that was displaced would not even fill the bed of an average pickup truck.”


Waterkeeper Alliance staff attorney Pete Harrison, contradicted this claim,  saying there was far more than a pickup truck’s worth of ash contaminating the river.


“When a raging river floods over 1 million tons of coal ash, you’re obviously going to get more than a pickup truck’s worth of ash polluting the river,” Harrison stated.


He advanced his statement by asserting that Duke Energy is possibly downplaying the damage.


“It was very troubling to discover such a large amount of ash in the river, especially knowing that untold amounts of ash have been washing out of these ponds for more than a week now. It’s baffling how Duke Energy could be so oblivious to such an obvious spill and how state regulators continue to look the other way when it comes to Duke’s coal ash problems,” Harrison said.


Other victims of the coal ash spillage have come forward to voice this disapproval of the situation.


“I wouldn’t think that any of Duke Energy’s neighbors would think that $5,000 is a reasonable offer,” Amy Brown of Belmont told ABC11 on January 16,

“and we don’t believe it’s a goodwill offer.”


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