Regarding the May 11 Point of View “Coal-ash plans need to protect public health – and pocketbooks” by David Fountain, president of Duke Energy North Carolina: I’m not a group. I have no ulterior motives. I don’t wish to cause Duke Energy any harm. What I am is a concerned mother who happens to be a neighbor to Duke’s G.G. Allen coal plant.
Fountain may feel that my neighbors and I have been influenced by groups, but I take that as an insult because that would insinuate that we have not done our own research. He will never know the time that I’ve spent educating myself on what his company has or hasn’t done.
I understand that the state has allowed Duke to operate in ways that are in question now and I personally can’t fault Duke for what it didn’t know. What wasn’t a problem 20 or 30 years ago is a problem now. When you know better, you should do better.
Duke’s own employees have expressed to me the company’s desire to regain the neighbors’ trust, but that will be difficult. It’s hard to trust Duke when it continues to speak about its computer models that were pre-programmed. It continues to claim that its unlined, leaking, toxic coal ash pits that sit in the groundwater haven’t affected our wells. It continues to claim that the contaminants found in its monitoring wells and in our drinking water wells are naturally occurring. There is nothing natural about a hole in the ground full of cancer-causing elements.
Duke continues to claim that our well water is just as safe or better than city water, and that is a false claim. Duke has had meetings with the state to discuss our water, without us, and that is a breach of trust. Nothing is impossible, but Duke must be willing to listen and try to understand its neighbors’ concerns to move forward.
Capping the coal ash in place will always leave people questioning why Duke didn’t just remove it when it had a chance. Cap-in-place is like an old house that has siding added on. The outside looks great, but the inside is still that same old house that has many problems. When you remove the threat, there is nothing left to fear!
If Fountain believes that the cleanup request is coming only from “special interest groups,” then he’s wrong because we aren’t followers of things that we don’t understand. We are leaders because we understand the danger of Duke’s toxic waste being left in the ground. Duke’s neighbors didn’t ask for this, and we want our peace of mind back. When referring to “special interest groups,” maybe Fountain should look within his own company or look to those that Duke has been meeting with. Remember, we aren’t the enemy. We are simply Duke’s neighbors.
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the POV.