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Questions raised at coal ash forum

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A forum in Wilmington Monday night brought together environmentalists and activists to discuss what can be done about coal ash here.

With interest at its peak right now the standing room only crowd came to learn.

"It's been a terrible year for waterways and for communities that live on those waterways. It has certainly brought some attention to an issue that is a real problem and needs real attention," said Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear Riverkeeper®.

After the coal ash spill in Eden earlier this year attention turned to wet coal ash reserves in our area.

At Monday's forum at WHQR, a standing room only crowd heard experts talk about coal ash and its future, which they say is not a good one for our state.

"We can look back on this and say, 'Hey. Is this the best thing for us to do?" said Burdette.

The Sutton Steam Plant has not been in operation for some time now, but the coal ash reserves still exist on the site of the plant.

"Coal ash being stored in unlined holes in the ground right beside all the major rivers in the state," said Mary Maclean Asbill with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Duke Energy says it's a problem the company is addressing. Experts have their own concerns about that.

"They understand that coal ash is a real problem," Burdette said. "What we haven't seen is a clear explanation."

Duke Energy says the coal ash issue is top of mind, and they are accelerating work to provide a plan for the Sutton ash basins by this September.

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