Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette and filmmaker Sol Weiner invited us to a free screening of Swine Country: The Fight for Clean Air and Water in Duplin County, NC on 5/28/14 at UNCW’s King Hall Auditorium. A discussion with environmental experts and activists followed the film.
Residents of Flemington, a small community located off of U.S. 421, will soon be connected to New Hanover County’s main water system. Officials from Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, or CFPUA, say they'll construct a new connective water pipeline this year. This is because groundwater containing coal ash slurry from Duke Progress Energy’s Sutton Plant has been slowly seeping toward Flemington’s current drinking wells. The CFPUA held a public meeting to discuss the pipeline Tuesday night, but fewer than five private citizens attended—and none made public comments.
This December, Duke Energy Progress will retire the coal units at Wilmington’s Sutton Plant, and switch to more energy-efficient natural gas operations. But while those coal units are being decommissioned, Duke will keep their ash basins operational for what they say is a short time. However, local environmental advocates are pushing to excavate the ash immediately, as they say its chemical components could pose public health threats. WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports that the Sierra Club and Cape Fear River Watch have teamed up to launch a petition demanding a timetable from Duke.