"'Any coal ash dump next to a river or lake is a ticking time bomb, and Duke has lost all credibility when it says it's responsible to hold the fuse,' Greenpeace Charlotte organizer Monica Embrey said while protesting outside of Duke Energy's headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday along with dozens others. 'Duke should clean up its mess in the Dan River and make sure that Charlotte isn't next.'
"'This could have been avoided. The Environmental Protection Agency has dragged its feet on the issue of coal ash for more than five years,' said Matt Wasson, director of programs for Appalachian Voices, in an interview with Common Dreams. 'We've been warning about this, commenting to the EPA in public comment periods, and talking to the press.'
"Duke Energy is still scrambling to repair the leak in a storm pipe at the bottom of a 27-acre coal ash pond. Duke Energy spokesperson Meghan Musgrave told Bloomberg on Tuesday that an estimated 10 percent of the pond's 992,000 tons of ash (99,200 tons) have spilled into the Dan River.
"Yet Kerul Dyer of Rainforest Action Network told Common Dreams, 'There is no way of knowing exactly how much has spilled already because the monitoring by Duke Energy is inadequate.'
"While the EPA floated the idea of regulating coal ash in 2010, it has dragged its feet and to date has released no rules regulating the dangerous residue. This is in part due to pressure from coal and utility companies. In 2009, Duke Energy lobbyist Bill Tyndall personally lobbied the Obama administration against regulating coal ash ponds, according to documents and statements highlighted by Greenpeace."
Lobbyists. We should bottle up some of that Dan River water, make some homemade soup, then send it to Tyndall's office. Maybe make a double batch for the evil energy-industry Brothers Koch while we're at it.
Make sure you check out our good friend Bob Kincaid on the Head-On Radio Network on this issue. He's been providing extraordinary coverage of this latest disaster. Watch him on MSNBC with Melissa Perry this weekend!