Environmental Groups Ask Indiana to Reject Duke Energy Plan

Duke Energy has a plan to dispose of millions of gallons of coal ash waste, but environmental groups are asking policy makers to reject it, saying it poses a health hazard.

Indiana is requiring Duke to prepare closure plans for 20 coal ash lagoons, many of which are leaking and in the Wabash and Ohio River floodplains.

These lagoons aren’t lined, and Duke has proposed a plan to “cap-in-place,” which it calls a clean closure.

But Earthjustice attorney Jenny Cassel says there would be no barrier between the ash and the shallow aquifers that adjoin the rivers.

She calls that a prescription for pollution, just as Duke experienced in North Carolina in 2014 when the utility caused a massive spill of coal ash wastewater into a 70-mile stretch of the Dan River.

Cassel says an option better than Duke’s “cap in place” plan is to excavate the ash and transfer it to dry, lined landfills away from streams and rivers.

Duke is doing that at plants in both North and South Carolina but has not proposed it for the Hoosier State.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management will consider Duke’s plan within the next couple of months.