Representing Upstate Forever and Save Our Saluda, the Southern Environmental Law Center yesterday announced an agreement in principle with Duke Energy to remove all of its coal ash at its W.S. Lee facility from the banks of the Saluda River near Greenville and Anderson, South Carolina, to safer, dry lined storage away from the river.
“With this announcement, our advocacy and litigation have obtained commitments from all public utilities in South Carolina to clean up leaking coal ash lagoons on South Carolina’s rivers,” said Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “This is a historic accomplishment for South Carolina’s rivers and clean water. Duke Energy has agreed to do the right thing in South Carolina and move over 3.2 million tons of its coal ash from the banks of the Saluda River to safer, dry lined storage.”
The Southern Environmental Law Center and its clients have been urging Duke Energy to take this step for months. The Southern Environmental Law Center presented to the South Carolina Public Service Commission in March and September of 2014 urging removal of the coal ash from the unlined and leaking lagoons to safer, dry lined storage away from the rivers.
In the announcement, Duke Energy committed itself to remove all the coal ash on the Lee site to dry, lined storage away from the river, including the ash in two leaking lagoons and in an ash storage area near the lagoons. In a September 2014 agreement with the Southern Environmental Law Center, Upstate Forever, and Save Our Saluda, Duke Energy had already committed to remove coal ash from two other storage areas on the Saluda River’s banks at the Lee facility.
“Once the coal ash is removed, a major threat to the Saluda River will be eliminated,” said Nick Anastos, board member of Save Our Saluda. “The removal of this ash helps us to save our Saluda River from the effects of long-term pollution.”