Raleigh protesters say officials downplayed dangers of coal ash

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A group of protesters in Raleigh is calling for government accountability (WTVD)

Sue Fife lives in Roxboro. Her home is a half-mile away from a Duke Energy Progress coal ash basin. She is convinced her water is contaminated, and joined a demonstration outside of the Executive Mansion in Raleigh demanding accountability on Thursday.

"They want to push stuff under the rug. They need to do the right thing," she said. "This is not a picnic. You think I just want to be here? I'm here because I have a concern for my health."

Folks picketed Thursday afternoon first outside the Executive Mansion, and then at the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters. Demonstrators says officials are marginalizing scientific evidence.

"Somebody is trying to hide something from us," said Fife.



A top state health official resigned Wednesday amid the controversy. Megan Davies says she consciously could not continue working for an administration that is deliberately misleading the public.

Davies was the state epidemiologist.

READ MORE: State epidemiologist resigns over coal ash controversy

Davies said folks near coal ash basins should not be drinking tap water, against state recommendations.

"They are best served by the original recommendation they received from public health," said Davies.

Folks who have wells initially received a letter notifying them not to drink the water. Then in March, the advisory was lifted after state officials say they did an extensive study.

READ ALL ABC11 COAL ASH STORIES HERE

Gov. Pat McCrory is holding his ground that the water is safe. He says his administration is being transparent.

"We basically have a disagreement among scientists," McCrory said Thursday at an event. "We're providing all the info necessary to ensure that we have safe drinking water and the public knows exactly what the value of that drinking water is, especially as it relates to federal standards."

McCrory's opponent in the gubernatorial race is firing. Roy Cooper's campaign issued this statement in response:

"Once again, Governor McCrory needs to stop blaming others and accept responsibility. State scientists have accused his administration of misleading the public. These are very serious concerns that he cannot ignore."

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