Press Releases

NCLCV Launches Television Ad Holding Speaker Tillis Accountable for Failing to Protect Against Future Coal Ash Spills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2014

CONTACT: Dan Crawford, Director of Governmental Relations, NC League of Conservation Voters; dan@nclcv.org, 919-839-0020 or 919-539-1422

Raleigh, NC - North Carolina League of Conservation Voters today launched a new television ad asking North Carolinians to urge House Speaker Thom Tillis to protect our drinking water from coal ash contamination. The ad, “Happened Here,” begins airing this week and is part of NCLCV’s $1 million dollar coal ash campaign to hold polluters accountable for coal ash spills and to seek greater protection from future disasters.

”As one of our most powerful legislators, Speaker Tillis has failed to use his clout to protect public health and our drinking water from coal ash spills,” said Dan Crawford, director of governmental relations for NCLCV. “He’s catered to polluters instead of adopting badly needed safeguards, and left the possibility that North Carolina ratepayers will bear the cost of cleaning up this mess.”

The Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, which Speaker Tillis rushed through the House process, has major flaws. It fails to assign financial responsibility which may leave ratepayers to share the burden of costs; allows some impoundments to be capped in place without a liner or any other separation between coal ash and water supplies; attempts to weaken existing groundwater protection laws; and creates a politically appointed commission with the authority to reject a cleanup plan if needed fixes are deemed too expensive.

The House, led by Speaker Tillis, had the opportunity to strengthen this legislation to protect North Carolina families, but instead sided with polluters and failed to keep our drinking water safe. NCLCV urges North Carolina citizens to call Speaker Tillis and tell him to hold polluters accountable as the bill heads to conference with the opportunity to be strengthened.

The weak House bill ignores public demand for more protection. A poll commissioned by NCLCV just after the Dan River coal ash disaster found that 83% said they want lawmakers to make Duke Energy clean up all their coal ash sites and move the hazardous material to safe and secure containment facilities, and away from water supplies.

Duke Energy currently has 33 coal ash ponds at 14 sites in North Carolina, containing more than 100 million tons of waste, which includes high levels of toxic metals and cancer-causing contaminants. In February, 39,000 tons of coal ash spilled into the Dan River, polluting 70 miles of the river bottom and threatening residents' drinking water.

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NC League of Conservation Voters is a statewide environmental advocacy organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing North Carolina’s natural environment. NCLCV has been working to protect North Carolina’s environment and our citizen’s health for over 40 years, turning environmental values into North Carolina priorities. NCLCV’s vision for the future of North Carolina is that all citizens and our elected decision-makers will better understand and appreciate North Carolina’s unique natural environment, and the integral role it plays in North Carolina’s economy and quality of life.

NC League of Conservation Voters, PO Box 12671, Raleigh, NC 27605 | Phone: 919.839.0006 | Fax: 919.839.0767
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