Federal, state officials set to hear concerns over coal ash

Feb. 5, 2014 photo shows signs of coal ash swirl in the water in the Dan River in Danville, (Gerry Broome)

State officials have scheduled a hearing in Walnut Cove to hear the community's concerns over coal ash.

The North Carolina Advisory Committee is holding the all-day hearing on Thursday at the Walnut Cove Public Library in Stokes County. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says the hearing involves the civil rights implications of environmental issues in North Carolina, particularly as it relates to coal ash disposal.

Local residents are especially concerned about the nearby Duke Energy plant at Belews Creek, which was cited by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 2014 following a spill at one of the utility's coal ash dumps coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge.

The hearing features members of environmental advocacy groups as well as coal industry representatives.

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