Lumberton residents concerned about coal ash -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Lumberton residents concerned about coal ash

LUMBERTON, NC (WMBF) - Environmental leaders in Robeson County will be making their voices heard to both lawmakers and big business Thursday night.  

The group is set to discuss its concerns about coal ash making its way into rivers and drinking water.

Stretching across both of the Carolinas, the Lumber River provides everything from recreation to fresh drinking water to thousands of people. 

For decades, Duke Energy used the river to power its coal plant, and for decades no one thought twice about it.

“I grew up around all this, and I never had no concern until now,” said Clarence Davis, who has lived near the now closed down Weatherspoon plant his whole life.

Environmentalists are now raising concerns about old coal ash ponds. They fear the hazardous chemicals could pose a threat to the river, the people, and even more.

“If we don't do something about it now, the next generation is gonna be like me,” said Davis. “I didn't really know nothing about it.”

“These coal ash pits are directly adjacent to major water sources and drinking water sources,” explained Reverand Mac Legerton, the Director of the Center for Community Action in Robeson County. 

Legerton has been on top of the issue for years. He says the coal ash has been proven to be cancer producing, and at times toxic. That's why he's gathering the community to educate and plan Thursday at the meeting.

“We're hoping that we can convince both the state and Duke energy that serves both Carolinas to remove all the coal ash from this area,” He said.

WMBF News reached out to Duke Energy. It says it's committed to closing ash basins in a way that protects groundwater and is environmentally sound.

The company is looking at removing and relocating the ash or putting a protective barrier over it to prevent its spread.

For folks like Clarence Davis, the words are nice, but actions would be better

“My main concern is for my grandson, coming up, even year old, what's he gonna have to put up with?” asked Davis. 

The meeting will be held at the Riverway Outdoor Adventure and Education Center at 600 Kingsdale Blvd. in Lumberton. It starts at 7 p.m. 

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