Sunday, August 16, 2015

Love and Protest in Our Coal Ash Fight

Protest signs held by members of EnvironmentaLEE and Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump at the DENR Hearing on a Mining Modification Permit.  Chatham County Historic Courthouse in background.  August 12, 2015.  Photo by Martha Girolami


Love and protest: they blend themselves together.
If you don’t love a child, a flower, a bird, a home, 
a community, you don’t try to protect it.  Mindless
corporate power makes war on our village, on
people who often work two jobs, sometimes for
the company which focuses its blind eye on our
gardens, our ponds where we go to fish, woods
where we hunt deer and wild turkey.  That
electric company was told to stop killing people
by poisoning their drinking water, so they chose
to poison more people by moving their toxic
coal ash around.  They lie and cheat, and no one
stops them.  I draw courage from red and yellow
zinnias coming into bloom, from chicks launching
themselves into the wider air of the whole coop.
Now they can fly from snakes.  Despite heat that 
kills plants and keeps off bees, I pick figs and
plum tomatoes, make preserves and spaghetti
sauce.  The sunflowers are seven feet high, out-
stripping even the orange and yellow cosmos.
Change is hard for me, more as I age, but I will
learn how to have the faith of bean seeds 
unfurling leaves; of okra seedlings raising their 
umbrellas a little more each day.  Because I 
love these frightened people, I will tame my fears,
and we will all learn bravery.  We will free 
ourselves from harm.  We will not be killed, 
nor surrender all we cherish.


Judy's zinnias and cosmos--summer 2014.

Speech by Judy Hogan at the DENR Hearing on August 12, 2015


My name is Judy Hogan.  I live in Moncure on Moncure-Pittsboro Road, five miles by air from both hazardous coal ash landfills, and my road is a main truck route from Corinth/Brickhaven to Pittsboro and points west.  DENR is breaking its own laws set up to protect the environment and the people of North Carolina by issuing the mining permit and its modification.  

We who live near and along train and truck transportation routes are in danger of the coal ash dust coming off the trucks, ruining lawns, gardens, farm animals, household pets, causing children wanting to play outside to be kept indoors; making us sick and killing us slowly. We need air monitors near the site and along the travel routes. 

Whatever the EPA says, coal ash is dangerous and hazardous to our health. People are dying around the coal ash dumps and ponds all over NC.  Duke is shifting its many leaking coal ash dumps onto other counties and towns so those folks will die, too.  Of course Duke/Charah chose two places in Lee and Chatham where many low-income, rural, and African American people live.  Business as usual in our country?  Pick on those you think have no voice?  We object.  You will hear our voices. 

Those plastic liners intended to keep coal ash out of drinking water are a joke. They can tear or be wrinkled in installation; little rocks and hard pieces of coal can penetrate them; the seals can break; 12 kinds of bacteria can eat them. They do not last 400 years.  Such monster coal ash landfills are an experiment and we are the sacrificial animals.  Let’s have some common sense, some integrity, some human compassion.  Let’s remember that our United States is committed to freedom and justice, to human dignity for all citizens.  Thank you.


Photo by Martha Girolami.  March 2015.

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