It’s time to protect our health and communities

There is no reason why our society, in the 21st century, should face the dangerous risks associated with irresponsible management of coal ash. The EPA has labeled the two coal-ash ponds at the Lake Julian Progress/Duke utility plant as “High Hazard Potential.” This means, specifically, that a breach of the dam would likely result in the loss of human life.

Additionally, the unlined pits pose a risk to our water table and to our most precious resource in the area, the French Broad River, which we are so reliant on for our local economy, tourism and recreation. With coal-ash regulations being debated in Congress, this issue is ripe. That is why I urge our North Carolina Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr to support strong coal-ash regulations.

It is time that Congress takes simple and logical steps to protect the health of our community and local livelihood instead of catering to special interests of the fossil fuel industry that have obstructed progress for far too long.

— Josh Fernandez

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