And coal ash is emerging as the #1 suspect:
Brockovich says she's also concerned about records included in our Defenders investigation that for decades, Duke Energy sold coal ash to be used as construction fill for development projects. DEQ records show between 1995 and 2001, about 1 million cubic yards of coal ash was sold off and buried across the area – more than anywhere else in the state. And that total doesn’t even include smaller projects that state leaders admit were not documented at all.
“Really? You built a community on coal ash?" Brockovich said. "Why aren’t you doing testing? Is there some soil vapor plume, are we being exposed to it is it is blowing around in the wind and we’re inhaling it?”
Get that? Even if Duke Energy digs up all the ash at the Marshall Steam Station and secures it in lined pits, there's a million cubic yards of it in the ground, under neighborhoods, that nobody even knew existed. We're not just talking Hexavalent Chromium, you got Mercury, Arsenic, Selenium, and even radioactive elements in that mess. Testing needs to begin, like yesterday:
Town leaders say lack of funding prevents them from bankrolling additional research to find that answer.
An additional $100,000 of funding for the ocular melanoma cluster investigation spirited by NC Senator Natasha Marcus was included in the 2020 budget. However, as of February 11, the budget was still stalled in the negotiations standoff.
“You’ve got the records," Brockovich said. "They built on it and you’ve got this community illness, somebody should be doing some testing to get some conclusive information. I find it disturbing, I find it disturbing that the community isn’t getting answers. We just cannot keep thinking that over decades there’s been back door dumping, building on coal ash, putting all that into the environment and possibly not think down the road wow that’s a lot of cancers, maybe that’s not right.”
Budget standoff or not, that money needs to flow. Because you can bet every time it rains, the contamination from that coal ash flows.