By Charlie Hall
Several environmental watchdog groups will host a forum and discussion Thursday at the New Bern-Craven County Public Library on the topic, “Coal Ash Ponds on Our Rivers.”
The most recent coal ash incident in North Carolina was the spill into the Dan River in the northern part of the state earlier this year.
But, according to Michael Schachter of the Carolina Nature Coalition and the moderator for the 6:30 p.m. film and program, the Neuse River could be under threat as well.
He cited a March story this year by Wes Wolfe of the Kinston Free Press, which said that “The H.F. Lee Plant just west of Goldsboro generated electricity from coal from 1951 to 2012, as the resulting hundreds of millions of gallons of coal ash were dumped into multiple ponds, including what’s called the Active Ash 1980 Pond.
“The federal Environmental Protection Agency classifies the pond as a significant hazard, and state regulators believe it has a high risk of failure — the same as at the Dan River station.”
Thursday’s program will start with a short film, “Coal Ash Stories,” from Working Films.
Schachter said that would be followed by a forum and discussion on the threat of these ponds both statewide and locally with himself, Nick Wood of the group NC WARN and Travis Graves, the Lower Neuse Riverkeeper. The North Carolina Sierra Club and N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources have also been invited to participate.