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Editorial: Judge rightly lets environmental groups in on coal ash case

Editorial: Judge rightly lets environmental groups in on coal ash case

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Cheers to Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, whose ruling last week will allow environmental groups to have access to documents from Duke Energy and the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources relating to groundwater leaching from the company’s coal ash dumps.

Ridgeway ruled that a coalition of environmental groups can participate in the state’s enforcement action against Duke Energy for the leaching, The Associated Press reported. Environmentalists, who last year tried to use the Clean Water Act to force Duke to clean up its 33 ash pits across the state, liked the ruling.

“This means that local conservation groups in communities across North Carolina will have a direct say and play a direct role in determining what will happen in the state enforcement action against Duke’s coal pollution and coal ash storage,” Frank Holleman, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents the coalition, told the AP.

The ruling widens the parties allowed in on the case. “We have seen that if only Duke and DENR are there, the community and clean water are not protected,” Holleman said.

The coalition includes Appalachian Voices, the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Now, it will have access to the same documents that the state and Duke have, the AP reported.

That’s how it should be. Good for Judge Ridgeway.

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