Across the street, a small, unassuming, idyllic Catholic church faces the Duke Power Riverbend Coal Plant at the center of litigation and outrage in response to consistent pollution and lack of effective coal ash pond treatment. For a new intern at NCIPL, the physicalized contrast contained powerful irony that drove home the nature of our relationship as faithful North Carolinians with utility companies; we will always be living side by side. While utilities provide us the basic comforts of modern life, we see the destructive nature of their work and feel called to act and react against it.
Such was the impetus behind the press conference on Tuesday July 23 that unveiled a major report revealing the damaging toxic pollutants being leached into groundwater and waterways from the discharge from coal plants and the seepage from unlined coal ash impoundment ponds. The Sierra Club and Waterkeeper Alliance, among others, wrote the report and officially released it outside the Riverbend coal plant outside of Charlotte, NC to a crowd of about 40 people. They called on us all to act with them to get the EPA to pass its most stringent (many would say appropriate) set of proposed laws to limit or eradicate pollution from the single largest point source of water pollution in the country–coal-fired power plants.
More on the gathering, speeches, and atmosphere of the day coming this Friday from NCIPL’s intern Joey Shea.