DENR Statement on Duke Energy Beginning Coal Ash Removal

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 12:00 am

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) released the following statement regarding Duke Energy's announcement that it has begun excavating and removing coal ash from the retired Riverbend power plant.

“Duke Energy’s action today is a direct result of Governor McCrory and the state legislature’s aggressive approach to cleanup coal ash in North Carolina and signals the start of ensuring that all coal ash storage ponds are closed in a manner that best protects public health and the environment,” said Tom Reeder, assistant secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). “The speed at which coal ash removal began is extraordinary considering North Carolina is the first state in the nation to seek and receive federal approval for the new permits required to move coal ash. Even though this is a great first step, we won’t rest until we hold Duke Energy fully accountable for the closure of all coal ash ponds in North Carolina.”

Governor Pat McCrory issued Executive Order 62 in August 2014, which set North Carolina on a path to address the safe cleanup of coal ash statewide and provided a framework for the comprehensive Coal Ash Management Act. The Coal Ash Management Act of 2014 became law on September 20, 2014. In the eight months since its passage, the state has worked rigorously to issue the permits necessary to remove coal ash and close all ponds. DENR has worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to comply with its new coal ash permitting requirements.