June 28, 2012

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Environmental organizations have filed actions against two South Carolina power companies that operate coal-fired power plants.  The actions seek the cleanup of waste ponds where coal ash is stored.

In January the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation filed suit against South Carolina Electric and Gas in federal district court, seeking cleanup of waste ponds at SCE&G’s Eastover power plant in rural Richland County.  The complaint specifically alleges that SCE&G is violating the South Carolina Pollution Control Act by discharging arsenic and other contaminants into South Carolina waters without a valid permit from DHEC.  SCE&G filed a motion to dismiss, arguing among other things that Catawba Riverkeeper and its members lacked standing to pursue the case.  On May 31, 2012, Judge Joseph Anderson rejected that argument, finding that Catawba Riverkeeper did have standing to maintain the suit. Read a recent news report about the case.

In early June three other environmental groups, the Waccamaw Riverkeeper, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the Coastal Conservation League, filed suit against state-owned Santee Cooper, seeking cleanup of coal waste ponds at the utility’s Grainger power plant in Horry County.  As in the suit filed against SCE&G, this second case also alleges that arsenic and other contaminants are seeping from the utility’s waste ponds, threatening both groundwater and the nearby Waccamaw River.  This second suit was filed just as the South Carolina Pollution Control Act was about to change and ban citizen pollution suits.  Read more about the case filed against Santee Cooper.