Group urges Progress Energy to protect the public

Guest Blog | September 17, 2009 | Press Releases

Asheville, NC (Sept. 17) – On Sept. 16th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its first batch of “high-hazard ash pond assessments” undertaken in response to the catastrophic TVA coal ash disaster December 22, 2008. EPA listed Progress Energy’s Asheville Power Station as the only impoundment to receive a poor rating in the entire country. EPA assessed the structural integrity of 17 “high” or “significant” hazard facilities around the nation and found that most impoundments were in satisfactory or fair condition, except for Progress’ Asheville pond.

“It is astounding that Progress Energy would risk the severe dangers of having an incompetent coal ash pond after the devastating TVA coal ash disaster in Kingston, Tenn.” stated Ulla Reeves, regional program director for Asheville-based Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “Progress officials need to immediately ensure that public health and environmental safety are guaranteed at this plant.”

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy calls on Progress Energy to move quickly to provide proper information to EPA since the assessment found that Progress’ Asheville facility lacked essential data to assess the full scope of the impoundment’s deficiencies, thus earning it the “poor” classification.

“EPA’s poor assessment of Asheville’s ash pond raises serious alarms about the safety of this impoundment which hovers precariously above numerous south Asheville homes, heavily trafficked I-26, and the prized French Broad River,” concluded Reeves. “It’s unacceptable to have a toxic coal ash pond on the brink of potential disaster in our beautiful back yard.”

EPA’s reports on the coal ash assessments can be found here: # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a not-for-profit, non partisan organization working to promote responsible energy choices that solve global warming problems and ensure clean, safe, healthy communities throughout the Southeast.