Coal Ash Chronicles

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Really, senator? The coal ash bill is something we should be proud of?


Rhiannon Fionn, of the watch-dog publication “Coal-Ash Chronicles”, told me: “The fact that the General Assembly kept picking up and putting down the coal ash issue only to finally pass legislation at the last moment is telling: They know their constituents want something done about coal ash. So, the state now has more coal ash regulations than any other. Could the lawmakers have done better? Yes. Is this move better than nothing? Yes. Will ratepayers have to pay to clean up Duke Energy’s mess, and will they clean it all up? That remains to be seen.” (Rhi also occasionally writes for this publication and, it should be said, broke the story about coal ash in and around Charlotte years ago in CL.)

Thanks Jerry Klein and Creative Loafing Charlotte! Though, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t point out that The Charlotte Observer's Bruce Henderson wrote at least one article before I did. Of course, no one has beat the hell out of this story like I have … anywhere, ever. LOL

Filed under coal ash coalash Duke Energy Creative Loafing Charlotte Jerry Klein Charlotte Observer Bruce Henderson journalism news coverage water pollution environment health NCga NCpol NC General Assembly legislation politics North Carolina CLT CLTnews

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Today in Coal Ash Chronicles' amazing-team news: Desiree Kane, Kevin Beaty and I are out in the field, covering a coal-ash story for (something we can’t tell you about just yet) while Benjamin Kanes - Official and John Welsh, of SightSense Productions, are up in a plane over a coal ash site on the East Coast gathering some dramatic footage via LightHawk.

We should also add that film editor Nell Carden Grey is on the West Coast plugging away on the rough cut of our feature-length documentary film. Arley Wolber is helping on that, too, but from the East Coast. Also on the East Coast are multiple bloggers and social media folks.

Making a documentary film and transmedia project is definitely all about the teamwork.

To quote Kevin, “This is bad ass.”

Filed under coal ash documentary film indiefilm production journalism Lighthawk Nell Carden Grey Desiree Kane Kevin Beaty Arley Wolber Rhiannon Fionn Coal Ash Chronicles Benjamin Kanes John Welsh SightSense Productions teamwork

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Will the Next Coal Ash Disaster Be in Your Neighborhood?


The Coal Ash Chronicles crew has been on the road for the past few weeks on what we’re calling our Last Epic Filming Trip.

We’re following up on stories we’ve already collected in communities around the country. Two years ago, we planned to visit every coal ash landfill and pond in the country … but there are too many of them; there are an estimated 1,500, and that’s probably a low-ball number.

Several organizations have been working on coal ash issues on behalf of the public, industry, and government for decades. Now that coal ash is a hot topic again, expect lots of information over the coming months about the stuff and its proximity to you.

In the meantime, might I suggest you visit your local coal ash ponds. Take photos and video. Find out how close your town’s drinking water supply is to the coal ash in your community. Find out if the coal ash from the local plant is being repurposed into products where it’s encapsulated, or if it’s being used in ways that might make it an environmental hazard.

Tune in. Start documenting. Speak up. #coalash

Filed under coal ash indiefilm documentary coalash citizen journalism journalism film media transmedia Coal Ash Chronicles

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Coal ash issue took years to reach breaking point

Pffft. You don’t have to tell us …
Coal Ash Chronicles’ founder Rhiannon Fionn has been on the coal-ash trail for five years and working on our documentary for nearly half that time. She’s described this as “feeling as if you’re screaming into a hurricane.”

But, hey … everyone said it would take a(nother) disaster for people to start paying attention. (Actually, Rhiannon keeps hoping a Kardashian will jump into a coal ash pond …) So, I guess we should thank Duke Energy for making a giant mess out of the Dan River so that people would tune into this critical water quality issue. *sigh* Why does it always take a disaster?

Filed under coal ash Rhiannon Fionn Coal Ash Chronicles documentary film indiefilm journalism media