Put hearings on your February calendar

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Two public meetings in February deserve your participation.

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality will hold two public hearings in Person County to take comments on Duke Energy’s coal-ash basin closure plans.

The Charlotte-based utility submitted those plans to the state last month, ahead of a settlement of legal actions between the state and Duke Energy over the matter.

The closure plans are important because they will outline Duke Energy’s intentions over the next few decades as they monitor the sites where the coal ash is stored to ensure that groundwater supplies are not contaminated.

At both the Hyco plant and the Mayo plant, the plans call for removing much of the coal ash that’s in the basins and storing elsewhere at the plant. In a couple cases, Duke will simply cap coal ash basins that have already been filled and covered over. Those basins will also, be monitored for many years to come.

The meetings – on Feb. 10 at North End Elementary School to consider the Mayo Plant’s plans and on Feb. 19 at North Elementary to consider the Hyco plan – will include an opening presentation that should give residents a lot of information about what will happen next if the state approves the closure plans.

Those presentations may well evoke more questions, but that’s OK and that’s what the public hearings are for. People with questions about the plans and the environmental impact of the coal ash on Person County residents should ask those questions and it will give everyone a chance to hear the answers.

We can never have too much information about any given topic. Environmental concerns – which can be so hard and time-consuming to reverse – deserve our full attention. It will not only impact today’s landowners, but the next generation’s landowners as well.

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