For nearly three years, independent investigative journalist Rhiannon Fionn traveled the country collecting stories about coal ash, America’s second-largest and mostly unregulated form of trash. What she discovered is that it’s likely making people sick, it’s damaging property, and that the relationship between industry and government is far too close.
During her quest, the third-largest coal ash spill in the nation’s history occurred on her home turf, North Carolina, and a federal investigation was launched into the dealings between the state and Duke Energy, the world’s largest energy company. Rhiannon then connected the dots, speaking to citizens, activists, and government and industry leaders involved with similar coal ash crises around the country. What’s she’s learned is that coal ash is America’s number-one water polluter, and that there are viable solutions to this massive problem. The question remains: will industry do the right thing and clean up their messes, and will our government remember who it’s supposed to be fighting for?
Issues surrounding coal ash disposal are deep-rooted, geographically pervasive, and ongoing. Coal Ash Chronicles seeks to document real human hardship on all sides of this issue, addressing a multitude of perspectives and documenting real-time changes in the story, all while expressing the humanity of people affected.