Sunday, April 9, 2017

No More Coal Ash in Moncure

Judy Hogan and Sheila Crump following Gospel Sing at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, January 2016.

It is with great joy that I write that our two local groups, Chatham Citizens Against Coal Dump(CCACAD), and EnvironmentaLEE (E-LEE) have won our court case against the dumping of coal ash in our Moncure community, in Brickhaven as of March 31,2017. Judge Fox of the Superior Court in Chatham ruled in our favor. Here’s the gist from his opinion:

From the last page – the DECISION:
1. The Final Decision is AFFIRMED as it relates to the use of the areas already mined or otherwise excavated in the two coal ash disposal sites (Brickhaven and Colon Road), and
2. The Final Decision is REVERSED as to areas not already mined or otherwise excavated, and the two mine reclamation permits were issued improperly by the Respondents and are hereby REVOKED. 


John Wagner and Judy following Gospel Sing, January 2016, holding gift tray made by Dean Tipton.

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, our parent group, backed us all the way. Their employee, Therese Vick, who has been helpful from the beginning in December 2014, has issued a press release. Here is part of it.

Judy Hogan, president of Chatham Citizens Against coal Ash Dump said that Judge Fox’s decision “gives me great pleasure in so many ways. We watched our comments at open hearings being ignored, the permits to do this being given rapidly, and the trucks running, then the trains, but we kept saying to our skeptics; “It’s not a done deal!”  E-LEE co-chair Marsha Ligon echoed Hogan. “Good things come to those who wait; we are thrilled that Judge Carl Fox ruled in our favor agreeing that the plans for future use of the Colon and Brickhaven clay pits cannot be entirely considered an act of reclamation.”
BREDL organizer Therese Vick stressed that “not one more shovel of dirt should be moved at either site. The DEQ improperly issued the mining reclamation permits, and they knew it. ...The DEQ is under new leadership. It is time for Secretary Michael Regan to right his injustice, and stop trying to defend the indefensible.”

Our CCACAD meeting Friday night, April 7, at the Liberty Chapel annex building in Moncure, celebrating our victory. Photo taken by Donna Strickland.
Judy’s poem this Sunday morning, April 9:

Those Eternally Linked Lives 7 April 9, 2017
For Judge Carl Fox

You were told to hang on, and you did.
It took patience and a great faith to
sustain hope that a huge, rich public
utility company could be defeated by 
a handful of determined citizens. You
worried for their health. Too many were 
already sick and getting sicker from
coal ash toxins in the air. Wells were
poisoned. Risks were taken with
drinking water. All around us the
skeptics were immovable. “It’s a done
deal.” We were considered controversial
for demanding justice. Then a wise and
thoughtful judge told the truth. Dumping
coal ash was wrong; you have to stop.
No more trucks and trains, cutting trees
and digging holes. Your permits are
revoked.  I was stunned yet I saw for
the first time since this plan emerged:
truth and justice alive at last in a
court of law. The constitution remembered.
“Liberty and justice for all.” We hugged
and told stories Ten of us who’d been
faithful, but many more helped, prayed,
gave us space to meet, to sing, sent
money for our lawyer. This small group
of concerned and committed citizens
did change a wrong to a right. We’re
alert now. Best if the huge, rich, public
utility company sets aside its tricks 
and begins to consider justice for its 
customers and truth from its employees.

It’s not too late.


Judy with sign made by Martha Girolami March 2015.

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