NC state representative wants a study into health effects of coa - WRBL

NC state representative wants a study into health effects of coal ash

Posted: Updated:
Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenberg) is calling for a study into the long-term health effects of exposure to coal ash. Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenberg) is calling for a study into the long-term health effects of exposure to coal ash.
  • Coal Ash SpillMore>>

  • NC legislators approve regulating toxic coal ash

    NC legislators approve regulating toxic coal ash

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 8:36 PM EDT2014-08-21 00:36:33 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    North Carolina lawmakers have approved legislation they say makes the state the nation's first to address decades of toxic water pollution from residue left behind by coal-burning electricity plants.
    North Carolina lawmakers have approved legislation they say makes the state the nation's first to address decades of toxic water pollution from residue left behind by coal-burning electricity plants.
  • NC legislators push bid to regulate toxic coal ash

    NC legislators push bid to regulate toxic coal ash

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:14 PM EDT2014-08-20 20:14:40 GMT
    File PhotoFile Photo
    Lawmakers are focusing on legislation they say makes the state the nation's first to address decades of toxic water pollution from residue left behind by coal-burning electricity plants.
    Lawmakers are focusing on legislation they say makes the state the nation's first to address decades of toxic water pollution from residue left behind by coal-burning electricity plants.
  • NC lawmakers reach compromise on coal ash measure

    NC lawmakers reach compromise on coal ash measure

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:47:46 GMT
    House and Senate leaders say lawmakers have reached a compromise on legislation that would make Duke Energy curb pollution from its 33 coal ash dumps.
    House and Senate leaders say lawmakers have reached a compromise on legislation that would make Duke Energy curb pollution from its 33 coal ash dumps.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenberg) is calling for a study into the long-term health effects of exposure to coal ash.

Alexander said the study should be conducted by the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Public Health or a local university with expertise in coal ash and its effect on health.

“We’ve got to have strong data that tells us what the health conditions of people are now,” Alexander said.

Thousands in North Carolina live near the state’s 33 coal ash ponds.

Alexander believes these people may have been exposed to dangerous pollutants that can lead to an array of health problems.

“Kids would come in play in this thing years ago when I was a kid,” said Jon Crawford. He lives near a coal ash pond by Belmont, North Carolina.

Duke Energy said the public shouldn’t worry.

“There is no evidence that should give neighbors any concern,” said Erin Culbert with Duke Energy.

It is the years of exposure to the ponds that worry some.

“We’re talking about things that don’t develop in the short term,” Alexander said. “They develop in the long term. We don’t want eventually to have a Love Canal situation.”

Love Canal was a site in New York used as a dumping ground for toxic chemicals by the Hooker Chemical Company until the company sold the land in 1953 for $1, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Around 20 years later, homes were built on the site leading to birth defects and health problems for residents.

Eventually, more than 800 people were relocated from the area.

Alexander said nothing like that has been recorded with coal ash. But he said the state can’t afford to wait and see if it does happen.

The state and Duke Energy should help pay for the study, according to Alexander.

“I don’t think the utilities cost should be passed on to rate payers,” Alexander said. “I think that cost should be borne by the owners of that utility.”

Alexander is calling on Gov. Pat McCrory to lead in this but if McCrory fails to act, Alexander said he would introduce a bill next year in the long session to set up a cancer cluster study.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.