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Opportunity for Clean Water Voters in Northern Virginia
In 2012, when Duke Energy’s Dan River coal-fired power plant in Eden, North Carolina was retired, many local residents may have thought that they were now free of the plant’s worst pollution. Unfortunately, plants of this type can leave a lasting pollution legacy, including coal ash waste which can remain toxic for decades. At the Dan River plant the coal ash was stored in an unlined pond on the edge of the Dan River.
In February 2014, a storm water pipe under the pond broke, draining toxic coal ash into the Dan River. By the time the pipe had been sealed a week later, 27 million gallons of slurry and 80,000 tons of coal ash had been dumped into the river, causing untold economic and environmental damage. The Dan River supplies drinking water to the town of Danville, just across the border in Virginia.
The Environmental Protection Agency is taking public comments on whether to close the loopholes that allow corporations and big polluters to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution from power plants into our air. This same pollution is already having devastating effects on water from Chesapeake Bay to the Great Lakes to the Colorado River and is putting our agricultural and tourism industries at risk.
In 1983, 1987 and 2000, Maryland Governors and their counterparts in Virginia, the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed signed formal agreements that set timelines for cleaning up the Bay. The most recent agreement called for deadlines that were to be met by 2010. That deadline will not be met. Clean Water Action supported the strongest possible version of this latest agreement, understanding that we would continue fighting for the enforcement of the Clean Water Act as the likeliest means restoring the Bay.