Profits Ahead Of People
Lynn Wood of Duke Energy being interviewed by Lesley Stahl of investigative news show "60 Minutes"
The Spill at Dan River
Every year coal-burning power plants generate not only electricity but a staggering amount of leftover coal ash that contains heavy metals unhealthy to humans. Yet due in part to intense industry lobbying, oversight over disposal has been largely left in the hands of state officials and employees, who are often beholden to the powerful, local utility companies.
For decades coal ash was just dumped into giant pits dug by rivers and lakes, where toxins could leach into nearby water and soil. There are over 1,000 ash pits or ponds dotting the nation, many of them old, poorly monitored, all but forgotten. But as we first reported back in December, every few years we are reminded that this can lead to disaster like the coal-ash spill in February last year into North Carolina's Dan River at a power plant owned by Duke Energy, the biggest utility company in the country.
The spill at Dan River happened when a drainage pipe that ran underneath an ash basin and dam, collapsed, sucking out six decades of waste and spewing gunk directly into the river. Lynn Good: It was an accident. It didn't work the way it should have worked. It didn't meet our standards or our expectations. Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good, then only seven months on the job, had a crisis on her hands...