WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Coal ash pollution from Duke Energy's Sutton Plant is killing more than 900,000 fish in a nearby lake, according to a study by Dr. Dennis Lemly, a Wake Forest University researcher.
The report states that selenium pollution from the coal ash pitts has caused mutations in several fish species at the popular fishing spot.
Lemly analyzed more than 1,400 fish from Sutton Lake and found several species showing mutations of the heads, mouths, spines, and tails.
"Selenium pollution from Duke's coal ash takes food off the table of North Carolinians who count on Sutton Lake to feed their families, and fish off fishermen's lines," said Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Duke Energy said its biologists have monitored water quality in Sutton Lake for 36 years and haven't observed the health effects described in the report.
The company called the study's claims "highly suspect" and said the fish in the lake are safe to eat.
Duke Energy retired its coal plant at the Sutton site in November as it began operating a 625-megawatt natural gas plant at the location.
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