Sunday, April 12, 2015

Judy's Coal Ash Protest Speeches--April 2015

No Coal Ash Sign on Buckhorn Road, Chatham County


Speech for Chatham Board of Commissioners, April 13, 11 AM

I have been privileged to hear several times our commissioners’ well-formulated questions to Duke Energy and Charah and their very inadequate answers.  After reading their recent answers to our commissioners’ questions, I felt like the child, who alone of all the spectators when the king passes by, says, “But the king has no clothes on.” Duke Energy has no clothes on.  

What I mean is, once Green Meadows has its permits, Duke Energy has no control over what Charah does.  We know Charah is careless about coal ash flying out of their trucks and rail cars.  We know that Charah engages sub-contractors, and if they mess up, as the wall-builders in the Asheville Airport did, Charah claims it had nothing to do with that.  We know that once the ash leaves Duke’s property the liability is shifted to Charah, or maybe to their sub-contractors, or even to the limited liability company Green Meadows.  We know that coal ash should not be moved.  We know that many people live, work, shop, and farm along the train and truck routes outlined in the Green Meadows permit.

We know that if this happens, our communities in southeastern Chatham will be harmed irreparably.  We don’t want to be Duke’s human sacrifice.  We live in a democracy where we are guaranteed our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We are being treated like people are under a totalitarian regime.  Corporations helped the Nazis exterminate six million Jews.  Duke Energy is, in effect, practicing genocide on the good people in southeast Chatham and northern Lee county.  We refuse to be killed off in the name of Duke Energy’s corporate profits.  We shall overcome.  We see clearly Duke Energy’s naked purpose: to kill us.  We refuse to die.

Speech for Lee County DENR hearing–April 13, 2015

My name is Judy Hogan.  I live in Moncure, half a mile from the Deep River and Lee County.  Both the Brickhaven and Colon Road designated coal ash dump sites are within five miles by air from me.  I live on Moncure-Pittsboro Rd., with its heavy traffic of commuters, school buses, trucks carrying bricks, logs, plywood, chemicals.  Now there are probably already 120-140 trucks a day passing every 5-6 minutes coming and going to our industrial district along Corinth Road, often exceeding the speed limit, which is 45 for the curve above me.  People who live on that curve regularly have trucks wreck in their front yard.  Add 120-140 30-ton coal ash dump trucks within 12 hours, that’s a truck every 2-1/2 to 3 minutes.  The CSX train track is one mile away, and when we go to our local post office, we are less than one hundred yards from the CSX train track.  If the permits go through, and we know DENR is no longer seriously willing or able to protect our environment, I won’t be able to live in my house, grow vegetables, fruit, and raise chickens, nor will I be able to sell this little farm where I had hoped to die at a ripe old age. 

I live very simply on a fixed income.  At 77 I’m still healthy, but I won’t stay here to be poisoned.  The trucks and rail cars carrying coal ash to Colon Road are also likely to use my road.  Hundreds of people live in these targeted areas.  Few of us are rich.  All of us value our land, our gardens, our pets and farm animals, and our children.  We don’t want our women to abort their babies, our babies to be born malformed, our little children to have nerve damage and cancer.  Coal ash should not be moved.  I have good friends in Lee County. I have taught at CCCC in Sanford.  I have fought against fracking with my Lee County neighbors and now we are all fighting against Duke Energy’s plan to introduce genocide into our American democracy.  Duke’s plan is criminal.  DENR needs to deny their permits for Green Meadows that allows Duke to shift its own coal ash problem onto the good people of Lee and Chatham countries.


Speech for Chatham County DENR Hearing on Coal Ash–April 16, 2015

I live in Moncure, a wonderful community.  I moved here to my first owned home 16 years ago and immediately began to fight, first against a low-level nuclear dump; then against three landfills, then to stop our air pollution which DENR had neglected for 10 years. A lot of people I knew here 16 years ago have died since, many of cancer.  I fought to get Progress Energy to stop shipping nuclear waste by train through our community.  I fought to keep fracking out of North Carolina.  In the process I met and came to love the diverse people here in Moncure, most of whom still hold to the traditional American way among country people, of helping each other.  

I’ve had good neighbors, and we made friends as we worked to save our community from environmental injustice.  Now we fight Duke Energy’s plan to force us to have 12 million tons of coal ash transported past our homes, businesses, churches, and farms.  We know it’s a hazardous waste, even if EPA hasn’t said so yet.  We know it shouldn’t be moved or get into our air, water, or onto our land.  We know it would kill us off, babies first.  

We know Duke doesn’t admit to how lethal coal ash is.  We hear the word games.  “Here’s a glass of water.  This is the leachate from the Asheville Airport site.  It’s too clean for a waste water treatment plant”.  No mention of the lead, mercury, arsenic, selenium and other heavy metals in that glass of water.  It isn’t the organic waste that will kill us, but the inorganic, those murderous chemicals that you can’t see.  

No amount of wetting the ash or spraying it with chemicals will keep it from drying out and blowing on a hot and windy day after a journey of 150 miles.  We don’t trust Duke, Charah or Green Meadows.  If Duke wants to be a good neighbor, let them pay for their own neglect of their coal ash ponds all over North Carolina, and treat the good people of Chatham and Lee counties as if they weren’t ruling us in a totalitarian mode, turning our meadows and streams black.

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