By: - July 5, 2016 6:33 am

Mc-coalash1022884—number of days since a massive coal ash spill at an abandoned Duke Energy power plant near Eden contaminated the Dan River with 39,000 tons of toxic coal ash and 24 million gallons of ash-contaminated wastewater  (“Year after ash spill, state of Dan River in dispute, WRAL-TV, January 30, 2015)

33—number of unlined coal ash pits that Duke Energy has at 14 sites throughout North Carolina (“Year after ash spill, state of Dan River in dispute, WRAL-TV, January 30, 2015)

100—percentage of these sites that leach contaminants into surrounding soil and groundwater (“Unlined and Dangerous: Duke Energy’s 32 Coal Ash Ponds in North Carolina Pose a Threat to Groundwater” National Geographic, March 5, 2014)

3 million—amount in gallons of contaminated water that coal ash ponds are leaking every day across North Carolina (“Duke Energy’s coal ash leaks persist across NC,” Charlotte Observer, January 31, 2015)

6—number of power plants at which arsenic at 140 times the state safety standard has appeared (Ibid)

2—number of power plants at which elevated levels of selenium has appeared (Ibid)

14—number of the 14 coal ash sites in the state rated as either intermediate or high risk by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality—which under the state’s 2014 Coal Ash Management Act would require them to be excavated (“Lawmakers approve easing coal ash law, WRAL-TV, June 30, 2016)

8—number of days since legislative leaders unveiled a new previously unseen version of House Bill 630 that would allow Duke Energy to leave 7 of the leaking 14 coal ash sites capped in place if the company provided alternative drinking water supplies for residents within a half-mile of the leaking coal ash pond within two years (Ibid)

2—total number of days from the time the previously unseen version of House Bill 630 was unveiled that it passed a Senate committee, the full Senate, the House Rules Committee and the full House (N.C. General Assembly)

5—number of days since Rep. Pricey Harrison said on the House floor that Duke Energy inflated clean-up costs to convince lawmakers to weaken the 2014 requirements and mandating that Duke Energy clean up the coal ash sites would not force the company to raise utility rates (Ibid)

98—percentage of public comments across the state this year this year that called on Duke Energy to remove coal ash from the unlined and leaking pits (“SELC Statement on NC House Passage of Coal Ash Legislation,” Southern Environmental Law Center, June 30, 3016)

27—number of days that Gov. Pat McCrory has to veto or sign House Bill 630 that allows Duke Energy to keep leaking coal ash pits in place at seven sites across North Carolina (N.C. General Assembly)

28—number of years that Gov. McCrory worked at Duke Energy (“New North Carolina Bill Allows Duke Energy To Dodge Coal Ash Cleanup Again, Climate Progress, July 1, 2016)

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066