Thigpen speaks out on coal ash spill into Dan River

February 5, 2014

Wilmington, NC—Jason Thigpen, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, spoke out today on the recent coal ash spill into the Dan River from storage ponds at the retired Dan River Steam Station.

On Monday, Duke Energy, owner of the Dan River Steam Station that was taken out of service in 2012, announced that 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 27 million gallons of water were released from the 27-acre storage pond there. Duke reports that the leak has at been temporarily stopped and that they are working on a long-term resolution to the issue. Coal ash is considered a toxic waste byproduct from coal-fired power plants. The coal ash is frequently stored in large holding ponds near the plants. NC officials and communities downstream from the spill, some of which rely on the Dan River for drinking water, have thus far reported no water quality issues.

“Duke Energy has been encouraged to stop storing coal ash in unlined storage ponds near our state’s waterways,” said Thigpen. “This latest spill is further evidence of the need to address this issue in an effective manner.

“In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned Duke Energy that its aging Dan River ash pond dams were a hazard. Unfortunately that warning went unheeded. When I am elected I will work with the EPA to finalize federal regulations for the safe disposal of coal ash.”

Jason Thigpen is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. A combat-wounded Veteran, and recipient of the Purple Heart Medal, Thigpen has been instrumental in advocating for legislative change in multiple states as well as federally to ensure the rights and benefits of our nations’ veterans and military families. He grew up in Wilmington and currently resides with his wife and family in Holly Ridge.

For more information, visit or contact his campaign at or call 910-523-6749.

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