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February 11, 2014 | By David Zucchino
RALEIGH, N.C. - State regulators in North Carolina have asked a judge to delay what environmentalists claim is a sweetheart deal with Duke Energy designed to protect the nation's largest electrical utility from heavy fines for allowing coal ash into the state's rivers. The move came a week after a massive spill dumped up to 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River from a Duke Energy containment basin at a shuttered coal-fired plant in Eden, N.C. Duke and state regulators have downplayed the severity of the spill.
February 9, 2014 | David Zucchino
Pete Harrison dipped his kayak paddle into a gray stain on the bank of the murky Dan River. He pulled out a sticky gob 4 inches thick. "That's pure coal ash," he said. Harrison, a lawyer with the Riverkeeper Alliance, was kayaking the river Thursday to take water samples, four days after a massive plume of coal ash laced with toxic chemicals spilled into the river from a storage basin at a retired coal-fired power plant operated by Duke Energy. Environmentalists and the nation's largest electric utility seem to describe two different rivers in the wake of the third-largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.
February 8, 2014 | By Chris Dufresne
SOCHI, Russia -- The men's downhill course at Rosa Khotur is being called by racers one of the best in Olympics history. “I think the hill is the toughest we've seen this year,” U.S. star Bode Miller said earlier this week. “It seems like the consequence of making a mistake is still real high, which is what the downhill is all about.” American veteran Marco Sullivan, making his fourth Olympic appearance, almost didn't make it to Sunday's start line. Sullivan, during Saturday's training run, avoided serious injury (or worse)
February 6, 2014 | By David Zucchino
EDEN, N.C. - An environmental group Thursday challenged Duke Energy's assurances that drinking water from the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia remained safe despite a massive spill of toxic coal ash that released a deluge of murky gray sludge into the river Sunday. The Waterkeeper Alliance said its tests of water collected just yards from the spill site here showed dangerous level of toxins, including arsenic, chromium, lead, iron and other heavy metals. Arsenic levels in the samples were 35 times higher than the maximum containment level set by the Environmental Protection Agency for drinking water, the group said.
February 5, 2014 | By Ari Bloomekatz
A tanker truck that overturned near the 2 Freeway in Eagle Rock early Wednesday left plenty to cry about after sending its load of milk down an embankment. The truck veered over the side of the transition road from the eastbound 134 Freeway to the southbound 2 Freeway at about 3:30 a.m., said California Highway Patrol Officer Jennifer Cassidy. The No. 4 lane on the southbound 2 Freeway was also closed as crews worked to clear the wreckage. Television news footage showed the driver of the truck limping away with the help of paramedics.
February 4, 2014 | By David Zucchino
Tens of thousands of tons of coal ash have spilled into the Dan River from a closed North Carolina coal plant since Sunday, but drinking water supplies have not been affected, according to municipal officials and the plant's owner, Duke Energy. Between 50,000 and 82,000 tons of ash have poured into the Dan River, which flows between North Carolina and Virginia, Duke Energy said. Corporate officials, who blamed a broken storm water pipe, said Tuesday that the utility was still working to stop the leak at the Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C. About 24 to 27 million gallons of basin water from a 27-acre coal ash reservoir at the retired plant also spilled into the river, Duke Energy said in a statement.
January 31, 2014 | By David Zucchino
The top public health official in Charleston, W. Va., has added to widespread criticism of the decision to declare drinking water safe despite a critical lack of scientific data about the coal-washing chemical that spilled into the Elk River on Jan. 9. Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, the largest in West Virginia, said in an interview Friday that the water can't be considered completely safe because scientists don't...
January 17, 2014 | By David Zucchino
Bombarded by lawsuits and under federal investigation, the chemical company that spilled a dangerous solvent into a West Virginia river and fouled the drinking water of 300,000 people filed for federal bankruptcy protection Friday. Freedom Industries Inc., owner of a storage tank that ruptured Jan. 9 and spilled 7,500 gallons of a coal-treatment foaming agent called MCHM into the Elk River, sought protection from creditors under a Chapter 11 filing by its parent company, Chemstream Holdings Inc. of Pennsylvania.
January 16, 2014 | By David Zucchino
Few people in West Virginia had any idea that an obscure company was storing a mysterious coal-washing chemical in tanks overlooking the Elk River, just upstream from a major water treatment plant. Nor did many realize that no agency had conducted regular inspections of those tanks, even though they are perched on a steep bank that tumbles down to the river northeast of downtown Charleston. On the morning of Jan. 9, residents complained about a licorice-like odor wafting from the site, operated by a chemical company with the unlikely name of Freedom Industries.
January 15, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
BNSF Railway has pleaded no contest to criminal charges and agreed to pay $140,000 in penalties, medical expenses and emergency response costs stemming from a 2012 spill of hazardous chemicals near the Port of Los Angeles, the city attorney announced this week. The rail company had failed to report the June 23, 2012, spill and created a public nuisance when several drums in a cargo container it was transporting leaked phenol, cresylic acid and other corrosive chemicals, City Atty.
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