- Posted March 16, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Energy Execs Don't Leak On Themselves
In all the reports on the disastrous coal ash leaks there has been no evidence or statement that company executives and their families also had to endure the contamination or drink the water there. Headquarters of the power company causing 2 major coal ash leaks is in Charlotte, 197.8 miles from their leak near Wilmington NC and 128.7 miles from their leak in Eden NC.
And residents in a posh suburb north of Calgary, Alberta, where a lot of oil executives live, do not want drilling for gas, called fracking, next to their homes. Apparently it is acceptable for others to live with flares, truck traffic, 24-hour noise, the smell of methane and possible water contamination — but not for their families.
In North Carolina, ash basins are not even lined to help restrict leaching. They are holes in the ground that cannot contain the heavy-metal particles which seep into the groundwater. Massive coal ash groundwater contamination has poisoned the wells of people near Wilmington NC in Flemington. Authorities demanded no one ever use 17 square miles of groundwater near the power plant’s dump site. Waste particles present are arsenic, boron, cadmium, chloride, chromium, iron, lead, manganese and sulfate.
The NC state Department of Environment and Natural Resources also ordered the power company to stop the flow of contaminated water coming out a pipe that runs under a huge coal ash dump at its Eden power plant. A nearby pipe at the same dump collapsed earlier, coating the bottom of the Dan River with toxic ash as far as 70 miles downstream.
At least 100,000 customers in nine West Virginia counties were told not to drink, bathe, cook or wash clothes using their tap water because of a chemical spill into the Elk River in Charleston, with the governor declaring a state of emergency for all those areas. The chemical, a foaming agent used in the coal preparation process, leaked from a tank, overran a containment area and went into the river. "Don't make baby formula," authorities said. "Don't brush your teeth. Don't shower. Toilet flushing only."
How do we all get clean water?
Require rigid plant and waste storage facility safety plan approvals before construction.
Require sufficient and timely inspection of all equipment and storage facilities to prevent danger of contamination leaks.
Provide protection against retribution or firing of whistle-blower employees who disclose possible contamination problems.
Price energy at the true cost of what it takes to provide non-contaminating energy sources, not energy at as high profits as possible. All these measures will obviously lower profits for energy companies. But increase in prices will not eliminate users who have no alternatives, though the higher prices will undoubtably encourage conservation.
Before giving a company a license to build an energy plant, drilling site, chemical and waste products dumps, waste ponds or tanks, and pipelines, make it a law that top company execs must live in close proximity. How many catastrophic leaks would happen if they and their families did have to live in breathing and drinking distance of their sites?