Local nonprofits hosts “Clean Water Not Coal Ash” cookout, rally on Thursday, March 22

In honor of World Water Day, the Western North Carolina Alliance, Appalachian Voices and partners are inviting the public to a “Clean Water NOT Coal Ash” cookout and rally from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, March 22, at Lake Julian Park.

Lake Julian Park is located at 75 Long Shoals Road. Local speakers, food, beverages, music, and educational kids’ activities will be provided.

“One of the biggest threats to our clean water is coal ash pollution, the waste from burning coal for electricity,” explains French Broad Riverkeeper, Hartwell Carson. “Monitoring at Progress Energy’s two coal ash ponds in Asheville show toxic heavy metals are leaching into the French Broad River, polluting groundwater, contaminating fish, and coating nearby homes with fugitive coal ash dust.”

The toxins in coal ash have been linked to an increase in cancer rates, respiratory illness, and problems with neurological development. Coal ash pollution can also harm animals, especially fish and amphibians.

Both of Asheville’s pond dams are listed by the EPA as “high hazard,” meaning if either dam fails there would likely be loss of life. This particular danger came to national attention in December 2008, when a dam failed at a Kingston, TN coal ash pond, flooding the Clinch and Emory rivers with one billion gallons of toxic coal ash.

In 1993 the United Nations established March 22 as World Water Day to focus public attention on the importance of clean water and the need to sustainably manage water resources.

“World Water Day is a great day to come together as a community and remind elected officials, state and federal agencies, and Progress Energy that clean water is a right, not a privilege,” reports Sandra Diaz of Appalachian Voices. “Unfortunately, Progress Energy’s pollution threatens our access to clean water, and the people of Western North Carolina are ready to take action.”

The cookout and rally are co-hosted by WNCA and Appalachian Voices. Participating organizations include: Clean Water for North Carolina, NC Interfaith Power and Light, WENOCA Sierra Club. Supporting Organizations include: American Rivers, Asheville PARC, Canary Coalition, Earthjustice, Mountain Voices Alliance, NC Conservation Network, NC WARN, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

For 30 years, the Western North Carolina Alliance has been a trusted community partner, marshaling grassroots support to keep our forests healthy, our air and water clean, and our communities vibrant. The Alliance and its chapters throughout Western NC unleash the power of citizens’ voices to protect the natural heritage of our region to help ensure that people and the environment can thrive. For more information, please visit www.wnca.org.


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