Duke Energy is recycling coal ash in Wayne County, and not everyone is convinced the process is safe and environmentally sound.
Bobby Jones with the Down East Coal Ash Coalition tells GoldsboroDailyNews.com that Duke Energy’s plan comes at a time of increasing climate volatility.
Jones says there’s a danger to re-burning the already poisonous coal ash, releasing that into the atmosphere, and releasing water used to clean the filters back into the Neuse River.
The county already experienced two severe flooding events — Hurricanes Florence and Matthew — just years apart, and Jones says this puts additional strain on the nearby Neuse River.
He also says we can’t afford additional potential toxins in the environment since Wayne County already has a higher cancer rate when compared to other counties and states.
Jones notes the water contamination that resulted from the leaking coal ash pits at the site and says that makes it difficult for the community to trust Duke Energy.
Jones says the coalition will watch the area as Duke ramps up the coal ash recycling operations.
The Down East Coal Ash Coalition has air monitors in place, and they will compare the air quality to recent years during the coal ash recycling operations.
This month, Duke Energy began recycling the nearly 6 million tons of coal ash that is left at the now-retired H.F. Lee Plant in Goldsboro.
The process is expected to take up to 15 years before all of the coal ash is removed from the site.