North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory made an unannounced visit to the coal ash spill near the Virginia border and says the serious spill needs to be brought under control as soon as possible.
McCrory traveled to the Duke Energy plant Thursday and made his first public statement on the spill. A 48-
inch storm water pipe broke Sunday afternoon, leaking coal ash from a storage pond into the nearby Dan River.
McCrory worked for Duke for 28 years before retiring to launch his first campaign for governor in 2008. Watchdog groups have questioned whether the Republican governor's close ties to Duke executives have influenced how aggressively his administration regulates the company.
Meanwhile, state regulators and an environmental group issued differing data Thursday about the levels of toxins detected in the Dan River following the massive spill of coal ash.
According to published reports, sections of the pipe are made of metal and corrugated concrete. It's not clear what caused the break.
Duke Progress Energy spokesman Dave Scanzoni told David Hurand the utility has reduced the flow of coal ash into the river and continues to investigate why the storm water pipe failed.
D.J. Gerken, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center in Asheville, says it's time for Duke Progress to modernize its coal ash storage system. He says the current leak raises concern about the coal ash pond near Asheville.
For the latest developments on the spill, and comprehensive coverage of the coal ash pond in Asheville,visit the Carolina Public Press website.