Community members meet regarding Duke Energy coal ash

by: Tina Terry Updated:


CHARLOTTE - For the first time Saturday community members had a chance to respond to a proposal by Duke Energy to move coal ash from Mountain Island Lake to Charlotte Douglas Airport.

"There's a lot of questions that come from what they're doing," said Cynthia Littlejohn, who lives near Charlotte's airport.

She attended a meeting for people who live in District 3. She wanted to know the impact the proposed project could have on the air and drinking water. Those are questions city staff members said they're already working to answer.

 "We have a lot of questions that really get down in the weeds of it to understand what is the risk short term and long term from air quality, to ground water, to surface water, what are the legal requirements that we would have put in place long term should anything go wrong," said Rob Phocas, Charlotte’s environment and sustainability manager.

They're working with Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities, Duke Energy, the Catawba Riverkeeper and even officials in Asheville where a similar project is now underway.

"We'll have town hall meetings to help people understand the process is, what are the risks," Phocas said.

City leaders said those town hall meetings will be held in the next three weeks.  They'll announce times and locations soon.

City staff members said they have until May 26 to finish investigating the proposal. After that they could ask for more time, or make a recommendation to the city council.