Coal ash legislation is moving fast

Coal ash legislation is moving quickly through the North Carolina legislature and our representatives need to hear from us on this important issue.


Although this proposal goes further than what Governor McCrory proposed, there are still a lot of issues with the legislation. While Riverbend has already been picked out for a somewhat higher standard than other sites, Marshall (Lake Norman and upstream of Mountain Island Lake) and Allen (just below on Lake Wylie) remain at risk of being allowed to be left in place. If you are on city water around Mountain Island Lake in Mecklenburg County, there’s actually a good chance your water (ironically) comes from the Lake Norman distribution system, which serves northern Mecklenburg County.
If you live on the Mecklenburg side, your senator is almost certainly Jeff Tarte. On the Gaston side, you are represented by Senator David Curtis or (if southwest of the NC-16 bridge) Kathy Harrington. House representatives are Jeter (Meck) and Torbett (Gaston). If you want to peruse the map:

Please contact your representatives and let them know that all three sites on the Catawba need a true cleanup, which consists of two simple things: 1) move it away from water and 2) put it in a dry, lined landfill.
Contact info for them:
Senator Jeff Tarte (919) 715-3050
Senator David Curtis (919) 715-3038
Senator Kathy Harrington (919) 733-5734
Representative Jeter 919-733-5654
Representative Torbett 919-733-5868


Here is a sample letter:

Dear Representative/Senator________

Along just a short 29-mile span of the Catawba River there are more than 5 billion gallons of wet coal ash and industrial waste chemicals sitting on the banks of lakes serving as drinking water reservoirs.  This stretch of the Catawba River is a valuable hub for property tax base, recreation, drinking water, and of course nature.

As a resident of the Mountain Island Lake community, I urge you to only support coal ash legislation that requires removal of the ash to a dry, lined, monitored site away from water.  I am extremely concerned about coal ash being held back by earthen dams and the toxic residue that is allowed to flow into our lake and drinking water. If allowed to remain in place, these coal ash ponds will eventually have a failure and disaster on a scale much greater than what we saw at Dan River. Such a failure would have catastrophic economic and environmental effects. Look at what happened to the people around Charleston, WV when their water supply was compromised. Mountain Island Lake serves three times as many people as the population of Charleston. A similar situation in our area would be economically devastating.

This coal ash issue disproportionately affects the Catawba River,  and those of us who live and work nearby. I hope you will be able to help steer legislation to acceptable terms that will protect ou property, recreation, drinking water and the Catawba River’s natural beauty.

Thank you,




Sara Behnke
We Love Mountain Island Lake

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