Giles County, Va., is one of the many stops we’ve made along the adventure that has become “Coal Ash Chronicles.” Their story is, by far, one of the more salacious we’ve encountered.
The old Appalachian Power Co. plant here sits above the New River — and above coal ash storage ponds, the type of facility that earlier this year fouled miles of the Dan River.
About 10 miles upstream, another ash pond sits along the New River at the Celanese plant near Narrows.
Between them is a virtual coal ash landfill — 100,000 cubic yards of coal ash used to underpin an empty private industrial park on U.S. 460.
For reference, this is the equivalent of sucking 20 blue whales — the world’s largest mammal — out of the Dan River.
Duke Energy Corp. plans to vacuum up a 2,500-ton coal ash deposit near the Schoolfield Dam in Danville, Va., the News & Record reports.
There’s a lot of very weird stuff going on in the newly insane state of North Carolina. The state has a problem with coal ash, and with its groundwater, and with the reluctance of Duke Energy to clean up, among other things, the 39,000 fking (tons) of the gunk that it spilled into the Dan River in February.
North Carolina regulators are joining with Duke Energy in appealing a judge’s ruling on cleaning up groundwater pollution leeching from the company’s coal ash dumps.
The state Environmental Management Commission filed notice Monday that it intends to appeal a March 6 ruling by Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway.
The commission and Duke contend North Carolina law does not give the state the authority to order an immediate cleanup. Ridgeway ruled the state had been misinterpreting the law for years.
Ameren’s new spokeswoman lacks name recognition, but she is connected.
The coal industry’s public relations’ schemes are alive and well in Missouri, too, where the state is trying to decide if a coal ash pond can be expanded into a flood plane along the Missouri River.
Karen Foss left KSDK for Ameren in 2007. It seemed like an odd hire to me. Why would a utility company want a former anchorwoman? The company already had a competent public relations person, Susan Gallagher.
Of course, the public didn’t know Gallagher. If you trotted her out to defend something indefensible, people wouldn’t say, “Well, if Susan says it’s reasonable, it must be.” That’s what the company figured it was getting with Foss. Credibility.
One of her first big jobs was a 30-minute infomercial about the disastrous breach at Ameren’s Taum Sauk reservoir. The story was almost two years old by then, but Foss managed to put a good spin on things. She looked and acted like a reporter interviewing company officials. What’s more, the company aired it on her old station, KSDK. Masterful.