This week's topic: Coal ash in North Carolina -- What is it? Why and how should we regulate it? And how soon will we will see coal ash cleaned up?
Coal ash grabbed the national spotlight back in February – when a wastewater pipe burst at Duke Energy’s Eden Plant -- spilling an estimated 39,000 tons into the Dan River. What many news media outlets are commonly calling toxic sludge coated about 70 miles of that waterway – which winds along the North Carolina – Virginia border.
Wilmington’s Sutton Plant is one of five statewide Duke Energy coal operations being decommissioned—and the closing of this one is of high priority to lawmakers. In November, Duke Energy retired Sutton’s coal operations. Although it’s now a natural gas plant, more than two million tons of dried coal ash—the waste generated after coal is burned—remains on the site. And the legislation that will determine exactly how much time Duke has to dispose of it all is pending in the General Assembly’s current session. WHQR has this look at the Sutton Plant’s retired coal operation.