A state administrative law judge has rejected local activists’ appeals of state permits allowing Duke Energy to dump coal ash at old clay mines in central North Carolina.
The state Department of Environmental Quality issued the permits last June. That quickly brought a challenge from the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and its chapters in Chatham and Lee counties.
But Administrative Law Judge Melissa Owens Lassiter dismissed the appeals Wednesday.
Duke Energy has already begun truck and rail shipments of coal ash to the Brickhaven site in Chatham from retired coal plants in Gaston County and Wilmington.
Dumping opponents say they’re still waiting for a word on their appeals of state water-quality certifications for the two landfills - Brickhaven and the former Colon mine in Lee County.
Coal ash is the residue left after burning coal. It’s a concern because it contains toxic heavy metals.