Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down a Dozen Klonopin with Bottled Water:
It's an interesting contrast up there, innit? The left hand (the one on the right because, you know, perspective) is showing what the bottom of the Dan River near Eden, North Carolina looked like on Saturday. The right hand is holding what it looked like on Tuesday. The Rude Pundit is no environmental scientist, but he's pretty sure there's a big difference there.
That'd be because a pipe at the ash pond of a closed coal-powered steam plant broke and shit out a long, dark diarrhea of coal ash into the river, 82,000 tons of the gray pollution squirts. Fun fact: "Coal ash is the waste left after burning coal. It contains arsenic, mercury, lead, and over a dozen other heavy metals, many of them toxic." So, of course, officials of the water treatment plant in Danville, Virginia, downstream from said diarrhea, declared the water perfectly safe to drink.
Fun fact #2: The plant is owned by Duke Energy, also famous for blowing the fuck out of mountaintops to get at that delicious coal. Yeah, see, Duke's record in North Carolina is pretty much the equivalent of a dog rubbing its ass along the carpet. You can yell at that dog, "Stop rubbing your asshole on the carpet," but that dog's just gonna look at you like you're crazy.
'Cause North Carolina environmental officials told Duke it needed to clean up a dozen coal-fueled plants. They're adorable: "The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources sued Duke Energy in state Superior Court in August. The suit cited potentially dangerous groundwater and wastewater violations at Belews Creek, Dan River and 10 other plants. The problems 'pose a serious danger to the health, safety and welfare' of North Carolinians and 'serious harm' to the state’s water supply." Duke has just looked at 'em like they're crazy and gone right on rubbing its asshole along the nice water supply.
What could make this story that much more agitating? What could make you just want to throw up your hands and lose your goddamn minds? How about that the river was already pretty fucked to begin with: "there was already a fish consumption advisory for the Dan River separate from the coal ash spill, due to levels of mercury and PCBs."
Or maybe that a lot of people in Danville just don't give a happy monkey fuck: "the spill has prompted some major health concerns. Just not from Danville residents. They went about their day as if it were any other." There was no one looking at the river to see the curls of ash. Most people just thought, "Well, if the government tells us something's wrong, we'll listen."
The Rude Pundit is stuck. Is that admirable tenacity in the face of crisis? Or just pathetic resignation to one's disempowerment?