LETTER: Fracking waste is worse than coal ash

Apr. 03, 2014 @ 04:56 AM

To the Editor:

It’s been almost two months since 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash, along with 27 million gallons of contaminated water, were dumped into the Dan River as a result of the Duke Energy coal ash waste disaster. This incident made it crystal clear that, for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (N.C. DENR), neither the environment nor the health of North Carolinians is a top priority. The oversight at this coal power plant, and surely at others, is completely and utterly unacceptable. We must demand more from our government and our regulatory agencies.

Did you know that Gov. Pat McCrory is a former Duke executive? Maybe that’s why Duke Energy can do whatever it wants. DENR is essentially nothing but a placeholder and has no ability to enforce the weak environmental regulations we do have, or to penalize those who contaminate our rivers and streams. The coal ash spill paints a grim picture of what would happen if fracking waste was to spill into one of our rivers. Fracking waste is much more toxic than coal ash and contains carcinogenic and radioactive materials. If DENR was unable to prevent or handle the coal ash disaster, then they sure won’t be doing any regulating on fracking waste pits.

Fracking would open up our waters to contamination with little to no enforcements or regulations. It would jeopardize drinking water for over 2.4 million North Carolinians and cause disease and devastation as it has already in other states. My favorite quotation from Josh Fox’s “Gasland II” (which I encourage you to watch) is: “People complain about the price of gas, but wait until you’re paying twice that for water.”

Michelle Graziosi

Chapel Hill