Asheville's Ash Pond Dangers
Updated: Thursday, February 20 2014, 08:58 PM EST
Federal prosecutors have issued dozens of subpoenas at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Duke Energy seeking information about dangerous toxic spills. The federal government is conducting a grand jury investigation into seepage and illegal discharges from coal ash ponds around the state, including the ponds at Duke's Lake Julian Power Plant.
Duke settled a potential lawsuit with DENR last summer after it was cited for seepage and illegal discharges from the Asheville ash ponds. Duke agreed to pay $99,000 in fines. But the Southern Environmental Law Center says the settlement never forced Duke to stop the seepage or clean it up. The federal government is now investigating the problem across the state in response to the coal ash spill from a Duke plant in Eden. DENR has also asked a judge to postpone the proposed settlement to allow for more investigation into the Asheville seepage.
The Law Center's senior attorney, DJ Gerken says "this has been a problem for quite some time. Duke has told the state what it would do and that's been the end of it." Gerken is now hoping this disaster will shed light on the continuing ash pond violations around the state.
By Frank Fraboni