Renewal: Celebrating the Merger of Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition and MountainTrue

Renewal: Celebrating the Merger of Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition and MountainTrue

Local favorite Gnarly Fingers will play during the merger celebration event on August 17th. From left to right, band members are Brian Kruger, Tom Edwards, Pat List, Joann Holoman, and Keith Layton. 


For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:

Karim Olaechea, MountainTrue Communications Director
C: 415-535-9004, E: karim@mountaintrue.org

Callie Moore, MountainTrue Western Regional Director
C: 828-837-5414, E: callie@mountaintrue.org


Renewal: Celebrating the Merger of Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition and MountainTrue

Brasstown, N.C. — MountainTrue invites everyone to a celebration of its recent merger with the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition (HRWC). The event will be held at the Staurolite Farm Barn in the Trout Cove community of Brasstown, NC on Saturday, August 17, 5:30-9:00 p.m.

Long-time members and supporters of HRWC will join with staff and local members of MountainTrue for food, games, music, dancing and fun. Program coordinator, Tony Ward, will offer a tour of one of the Coalition’s oldest stream restoration projects, Trout Cove Branch, and live music will be provided by local favorite Gnarly Fingers.

The merger represents a renewal of MountainTrue’s roots in far Western North Carolina, as well as a renewal of the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition’s programs. This event is a great opportunity to learn more about MountainTrue and its current and future work. Admission is free, but please RSVP online at: https://mountaintrue.org/event/21549/ or call 828-837-5414.

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Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Take Action: Protect the Public’s Role in Public Lands

Take Action: Protect the Public’s Role in Public Lands

 

Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Callie Moore – Bio

Callie Moore, Western Regional Director

Callie served as Director of the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition for 17 years until the organization merged with MountainTrue in 2019. She has a Master’s Degree in Water Resources from Indiana University and is a graduate of Western Carolina University’s (WCU) Environmental Health Program. Before HRWC, Callie was a river basin planner for the NCDENR, Division of Water Quality, during which time she worked extensively in several WNC river basins including the Hiwassee, Little Tennessee, and Savannah. Other prior work experience includes water quality monitoring, sediment/erosion control compliance inspections, and environmental education for the Tennessee Dept. of Environment & Conservation and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Callie is a graduate of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, Leadership Chatuge and she served on the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Community Leadership Council.

Although Callie grew up in middle Tennessee, throughout her life her family vacationed at their home at Lake Junaluska. It was then and while at WCU, that she developed a rich knowledge and love of western North Carolina and its rivers.

She and husband, Philip, currently live with cat, Tessa, in the Tusquitee Community of Clay County, NC. She enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities in her spare time, as well as making hand-stamped greeting cards and helping out around Moore Farm. In addition to being involved in the community through her church, Callie is a member of the Rotary Club of Clay County and serves on the board of the Unaka Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

envelope callie@mountaintrue.org
phone (828) 837-5414


We value mountain communities that are vibrant, livable, and respectful of their connection to and dependence on the region’s natural environment.
We value the integrity of natural systems – air, land, water, and native plants and animals – and believe in protecting and restoring them for the benefit of all generations.

  1. One Cello, One Planet: Asheville

    August 25 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
  2. Riverkeeper Beer Series with HiWire

    August 31 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  3. Open House at Mountain Research Station

    September 5 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
  4. Fourth Annual Sarah Sweep

    September 7 @ 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
  5. Riverkeeper Beer Series with Catawba

    September 7 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

MT Raleigh Report: The Latest on Conservation Projects in the State Budget

MT Raleigh Report: The Latest on Conservation Projects in the State Budget

In our last report, we updated you about the status of several important Western North Carolina conservation projects included in the state budget negotiations in Raleigh.

Recently, lawmakers gave final approval to their version of the state’s $24 billion spending plan. Governor Cooper vetoed the legislature’s proposed budget last Friday, as was widely expected.

While we hope Governor Cooper and legislative leaders will come to a resolution on a final budget soon, we are grateful that the General Assembly included a number of important investments for WNC in their version. These include:

  • $200,000 to allow the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) to investigate and clean up hazardous spills from unknown sources. When an angler alerted our Watauga Riverkeeper to a fish kill and sheen on the Watauga River two summers ago, state regulators were unable to respond immediately because the origin of the spill was unclear. Responsibility for such spills falls largely to NC DEQ’s Underground Storage Tank cleanup program, whose funding is restricted to contamination that is clearly associated with an underground storage tank. This additional funding will allow the Department to respond more quickly and to protect North Carolina’s aquatic life and rivers, and the tourism and recreation industries that depend on them.

  • $150,000 to improve public access to a popular recreation area in the Green River Game Lands in Henderson and Polk Counties. Access to the Green River is of great importance to the paddling and angling communities, but the parking area for an iconic section of the river is under a temporary lease agreement that can be terminated at any time – putting recreational access to the river at risk. This appropriation will support and leverage further grant funding for permanent public access and trail improvement projects that protect the Green.
  • $100,000 to provide state funding to monitor popular WNC rivers and streams for E. coli and other pollutants that can make people sick. WNC river recreation areas in the French Broad and other watersheds routinely fail EPA standards for E. coli, especially after it rains. This funding will help inform the public of when it’s safe to swim.
  • $100,000 to expand fishing and camping tourism with improvements to the French Broad River Paddle Trail in Transylvania, Henderson, Buncombe and Madison Counties. This investment will allow paddlers and others to more easily and safely access more than 150 miles of the French Broad, and will bring new economic development opportunities to communities in small towns along the river.
  • $100,000 to improve fish habitat and hunting and fishing access by providing matching funds to remove the Ward’s Mill Dam on the Watauga River in Watauga County. Removing the dam will result in 140 more miles of connected stream and improve free-flowing aquatic habitat for species like the Eastern Hellbender and the Green Floater Mussel.
  • $100,000 to expand camping and fishing tourism with investments in the Watauga River Paddle Trail in Watauga County. The Watauga is one of WNC’s most beautiful rivers, and this funding will expand public access and recreation opportunities.

This funding represents months of legislative advocacy across our region and in Raleigh by a team of MountainTrue staff and volunteers – thanks to all of you who have supported these efforts with your time and donations. Thanks also to the WNC legislators who worked with us – including Senators Chuck Edwards and Deanna Ballard, as well as Representatives Chuck McGrady, Josh Dobson, Brian Turner and Kevin Corbin.

We also hope you’ll mark your calendars for a community discussion of MountainTrue’s legislative work, which will happen at the Wedge at Foundation on July 17 at 6:30 PM. Our lobbyist, Rob Lamme, will share his main takeaways from the legislative session and answer questions on how to impact environmental issues in Raleigh from our mountains. Until then, thank you again for your support!


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

MT Raleigh Report: Update on Conservation Projects in the Budget

MT Raleigh Report: Update on Conservation Projects in the Budget

The legislature’s months-long debate of the new state budget is coming to an end, and there are some key Western North Carolina conservation investments at stake this year.

The budget process for the state’s biennial (AKA two-year) budget began in March, when Governor Roy Cooper delivered his proposed budget to the General Assembly. The House of Representatives followed with weeks of budget meetings that culminated in approval of its version of the state’s $24 billion spending plan. In recent weeks, the Senate has developed its own version of the budget.

Now comes “conference” – the process the House and Senate use to reconcile their budgets and send a final version to the Governor for signature or veto.

Over the past few months, MountainTrue has been working with lawmakers to support a number of conservation projects that are now being discussed in conference. Specifically we are asking lawmakers to support funding to:

  • Allow the NC Department of Environmental Quality to investigate and clean up hazardous spills from unknown sources – as occurred recently in the Watauga River (included in the Senate budget, $200,000 one-time funding)

  • Improve public access to a popular recreation area in the Green River Game Lands in Henderson and Polk counties (included in the Senate budget, $150,000)

  • Provide state funding to monitor popular WNC rivers and streams for E. coli and other pollutants that can make people sick (included in the Senate budget, $100,000)

  • Expand fishing and camping tourism with improvements to the French Broad River Paddle Trail in Transylvania, Henderson, Buncombe and Madison counties (included in the Senate budget,  $100,000)

  • Improve fish habitat and hunting and fishing access by providing matching funds to remove the Ward’s Mill Dam on the Watauga River in Watauga County (Included in the Senate budget, $100,000)

  • Expand camping and fishing tourism with investment in the Watauga River Paddle Trail in Watauga County (Included in the Senate budget, $100,000)

MountainTrue – and our region – is fortunate to have a number of lawmakers who have been willing to support these projects. Thank you to Representatives Chuck McGrady, Josh Dobson, Kevin Corbin and Brian Turner for your help. On the Senate side, Senators Chuck Edwards and Deanna Ballard have been immensely helpful.

MountainTrue staff will travel to Raleigh next week for the last of this year’s monthly lobbying trips to support these budget items. Look for an update in the coming weeks about our trip, the final budget and its investments in Western North Carolina.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Keep Beech Creek Flowing! Say No To The Permit Revision.

Keep Beech Creek Flowing! Say No To The Permit Revision.

 

Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

MT Raleigh Report: Crossover Week, Rate Hike Bill and Our Legislative Advocacy

MT Raleigh Report: Crossover Week, Rate Hike Bill and Our Legislative Advocacy

MountainTrue in Raleigh to speak with legislators on May 1. From left to right: Green Riverkeeper Gray Jernigan, Co-Director Bob Wagner, Watauga Riverkeeper Andy Hill, Development Director Adam Bowers and volunteer Robert Udashen.

Last week was “crossover week”, which might as well be “chaos week” in the legislature.

That’s because “crossover” refers to the legislature’s deadline for most bills to move from one chamber of the legislature to the other in order to remain eligible for consideration for the rest of the two-year legislative session. The official crossover deadline occurred last week, with both chambers pushing dozens of bills through the legislative process before the deadline kicked in.

As with all rules and deadlines at the General Assembly, there are a number of ways for lawmakers to get around the crossover rule. Gutting a bill that has passed one chamber and re-writing it to address a different issue altogether is a popular strategy. But for the most part, a bill that is subject to crossover but doesn’t meet the deadline dies a quick death.

Thus the mad scramble of crossover week.

Perhaps the most important bill with implications for the environment that passed in crossover week was SB559, which would remove the need for utilities to come before the NC Utilities Commission and the public on a yearly basis when rate increases are proposed. Instead, utilities would be able to get rate hikes approved for up to five years all at once.

Supporters of the bill argue that the NC Utilities Commission already has the power to approve rate hikes for future costs, and that the law would only make this power more explicit.

But a broad coalition of bill opponents – including environmental groups, business organizations, manufacturers and consumer groups – worry that multi-year rate plans will give them less input in the process the commission uses to set rates.

MountainTrue opposes the bill for this reason and more. SB559 reduces the opportunity for the public to have a say about rate hikes on a year-by-year basis and, by increasing the likelihood of the Utilities Commission considering rate hikes to pay for future costs, makes it harder to ensure that these costs are reasonable and prudent. Neighboring states have experienced this firsthand: In South Carolina, for instance, the Base Load Review Act empowered utilities to charge customers for large power plants before they were built. This resulted in customers being charged $37 million per month for the cost of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station before it was abandoned in 2017.

We are also concerned that SB559 will limit discussion on how much Duke investors – not consumers – should have to pay for the cost of cleaning up the company’s multi-billion dollar coal ash mess.

Unfortunately, the objections of so many interest groups did not prevent the Senate from approving the bill, which collected the support of most of its GOP majority as well as a small number of Democrats. Several Republicans also voted against the bill.

Among Western North Carolina legislators, Senator Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) voted against the bill; Senators Chuck Edwards (R – Henderson, Buncombe, Transylvania), Jim Davis (R – Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain) and Deanna Ballard (R – Alleghany, Ashe, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes) voted in support.

SB559 now moves on to the House, where its prospects for approval are less certain.

In other legislative news, MountainTrue staff and volunteers were in Raleigh on May 1 to talk to lawmakers about our legislative priorities, which include increased funding for the French Broad Paddle Trail and support for climate resilience planning in WNC.

Look for an update about these issues in an upcoming report, and as always, thanks for the support that makes our legislative advocacy in Raleigh possible!


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

MountainTrue 2019 Legislative Agenda

The 2019 session of the North Carolina General Assembly includes opportunities for important progress on a range of environmental issues. As the only Western North Carolina environmental organization with a permanent advocacy effort in Raleigh, MountainTrue will use its presence in the capitol – as well as its substantial grassroots membership – to support a number of important environmental and conservation efforts, including:

Emergency Funding for Petroleum Spills – Last year, MountainTrue’s Watauga Riverkeeper Andy Hill discovered a large plume of petroleum pollution on the Watauga and called for state water quality regulators to begin cleanup efforts. But because of restrictions on state cleanup funds, the response was delayed until the source of the pollution could be determined – a process that can take weeks or even months. MountainTrue is advocating for new, unrestricted funding to allow cleanup to begin immediately and reduce the damage petroleum pollution can do to water quality and habitat.

More Water Quality Testing in WNC – Run-off and other pollution can make swimming and playing in many WNC rivers and streams unsafe for adults and children. MountainTrue is asking lawmakers to fund water testing in our mountain rivers and streams so people know when it’s safe to swim. This testing is currently funded for our state’s beaches but not for rivers in Western North Carolina – even though we have some of the most popular water recreation destinations in the Southeast.

Help Small Farmers Protect Water Quality – Simple efforts like fencing can help small farmers reduce their impact on WNC water quality. Unfortunately many small farmers need financial help to implement these kinds of “Best Management Practices,” or BMPs. And while there is current state funding for BMPs, it is not enough to help every willing farmer. MountainTrue will advocate for farmers to get the investments they need to prevent sediment and animal waste from harming rivers and streams.

Protect NC Trout and the WNC Trout Industry Whirling disease is a microscopic parasite that has been found in WNC trout streams. Last year, MountainTrue secured state funding for a study to help understand the threat this parasite poses to the trout industry – which contributes $383 million annually to the region’s economy. MountainTrue will use the results of the study to develop a legislative action plan to address this environmental and economic threat.

Open Space Conservation Funding – Before the Great Recession of 2008, North Carolina was a national leader in protecting and restoring land for recreation, habitat and clean water. Since the recession, funding levels for open space conservation have slowly increased but are still nowhere near their pre-recession levels. MountainTrue will continue to work with others in the conservation community to protect and expand funding for our parks, critical habitat and the health of critical watersheds.

Improve NC Emergency Preparedness – This year’s storms were a wake-up call that all of North Carolina must do more to prepare for extreme weather associated with climate change. MountainTrue will advocate for new policies and investments to prepare for this new reality, including moving agricultural and other industrial polluters out of flood plains and better flood control policies to protect homes and businesses from repeated destruction.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Protect Old-Growth Forest and Vibrant Ecosystems in the Buck Project

Protect Old-Growth Forest and Vibrant Ecosystems in the Buck Project

 


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

MountainTrue, Other Community Groups Intervene In Duke’s Appeal of Coal Ash Order

MountainTrue, Other Community Groups Intervene In Duke’s Appeal of Coal Ash Order

The Marshall Steam Station, one of the six coal ash sites the NC Department of Environmental Quality ordered for Duke Energy to clean up. 

May 6, 2019

MountainTrue and several other community groups in North Carolina are intervening in Duke Energy’s appeal of the order requiring the company to clean up its toxic coal ash pollution.

The Department of Environmental Quality’s order was a victory for clean water and frontline communities affected by coal ash in our state. MountainTrue is committed to ensuring that the science-based evidence that led to the Department of Environmental Quality’s order is respected, and that the order is implemented justly for the people of North Carolina.

The following is a press release by the Southern Environmental Law Center, which will represent MountainTrue in the proceedings before the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings. See this press release on the Southern Environmental Law Center’s website here.

 

Groups Move to Defend N.C. Order that Duke Energy Must Clean Up Coal Ash Pollution at Six Sites

Duke’s Refusal Follows Years of Public Outcry, Pollution, Crimes & Spills

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—Community groups represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center moved to intervene in appeals filed by Duke Energy in the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings in which Duke Energy tries to avoid cleaning up its coal ash pollution at six sites in North Carolina. At those sites, Duke Energy stores toxic coal ash in unlined, leaking pits sitting in groundwater next to rivers, lakes, and drinking water reservoirs. For years and again in 2019, thousands of North Carolina families have called upon the state government and Duke Energy to clean up all of Duke’s leaking, unlined coal ash pits across the state. The Southern Environmental Law Center represents the following groups in today’s filings: Appalachian Voices, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, MountainTrue, Roanoke River Basin Association, Sierra Club, the Stokes County Branch of the NAACP, and Waterkeeper Alliance.

“All of North Carolina’s waters and all its families deserve protection from Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash pollution,” said Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center which represents the groups in court seeking cleanup of Duke Energy’s coal ash pollution. “Years of study show the only way to protect North Carolina families is to remove Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash waste from polluting, unlined waterfront pits.  When the coal ash from all of Duke’s sites is finally out of our groundwater in dry, lined storage at each site, North Carolina’s rivers will be cleaner, North Carolina’s drinking water will be safer, and North Carolina’s communities will be more secure.”

State scientists determined that excavation was the only acceptable option because Duke Energy’s coal ash sits deep in the groundwater, and if left in unlined, leaking lagoons as Duke proposes, it would continue to pollute indefinitely. According to Duke Energy’s own analyses, it has the ability to remove the wet ash from unlined pits to dry, lined landfills on-site at each of the six sites in question. Duke Energy is required to clean up seven other coal ash sites in North Carolina by court order and an eighth coal ash site by a settlement agreement with the Southern Environmental Law Center, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Yadkin Riverkeeper.

“For years and with much effort, community members in the Broad River Watershed have respectfully shown up for DEQ’s public input meetings and public information sessions as well as Duke Energy’s community open house,” said David Caldwell, the Broad Riverkeeper at MountainTrue which is a client in the motion to intervene regarding Duke’s Cliffside site.  “We have followed and been part of the long process of discovering the truth about coal ash and its hazards.  DEQ made the decision to have all coal ash in our state excavated and stored safely.  We respect and support this decision.  It is time for Duke Energy to stop wasting time and money on delaying the inevitable.  Duke must now show some respect for its customers, families of North Carolina, and our Department of Environmental Quality; they must get on with the job of cleaning up their mess.”

Duke Energy’s operating companies in North Carolina are under criminal probation after they pleaded guilty 18 times to nine coal ash crimes committed at sites across the state. Duke Energy has a long record of coal ash pollution from the catastrophic Dan River coal ash spill and additional spills, including spills from its pits in Goldsboro and Wilmington in recent storms and continuing flows of pollution from its unlined pits across the state where coal ash sits in groundwater next to rivers and lakes. Duke Energy has repeatedly told the public its coal ash storage was safe, and repeatedly, Duke Energy has been proven wrong, with serious consequences for North Carolina communities and waterways.

“The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation has been working to protect our waters from coal ash contamination since at least 2012 and will continue to do so,” said Brandon Jones, Catawba Riverkeeper at the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation which is a client in the motions to intervene regarding Duke’s Allen and Marshall sites.  “North Carolinians deserve clean water that is not contaminated by coal ash.  Duke Energy has cleaned up other coal ash pits in our watershed and it is time for them to finish the job. We support the NC DEQ’s decision.”

“At this point, groups and communities throughout the state and the NC DEQ are all in agreement that excavation is the only acceptable option,” says Larissa Liebmann, staff attorney at Waterkeeper Alliance, which is a client on the motions to intervene regarding Duke’s Allen and Marshall sites. “Yet Duke Energy still refuses to do the right thing.”

With these agency orders, North Carolina joins its neighboring states in requiring cleanup of dangerous unlined coal ash storage.  Every utility in South Carolina is already required to excavate all the coal ash from every unlined lagoon in the state, and Virginia recently passed legislation that requires Dominion to excavate all the coal ash from its unlined pits in the state.  The pollution from the six sites that are the subjects of Duke Energy’s appeals flows through North Carolina and into South Carolina and Virginia.

Motions to intervene were filed for the following Duke Energy coal ash sites: AllenBelews CreekCliffsideMarshallMayo, and Roxboro.

A timeline is available here.

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For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 70 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.