Today organizations across North Carolina are launching Coal Ash Stories, a statewide screening tour featuring four short documentary films focused on coal ash, related public health concerns, and policy.

Winston Salem
Thursday, June 12, 7pm
Old Salem Single Brothers Workshop
10 West Academy Street Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Hosted by: Sierra Club Foothills Group

Belews Creek
Tuesday June 17th, 7pm

Pine Hall Ruritan Club
1555 Pine Hall Rd Pine Hall, NC 27042
Hosted by: Appalachian Voices

Durham
Tuesday, June 17th, 7pm
Motorco
723 Rigsbee Ave, Durham, NC 27701
Hosted by: NC WARN, Sierra Club Headwaters Group, Durham People’s Alliance

Charlotte
Wednesday, June 18th, 7pm
Area 15
514 E. 15th St., Charlotte, NC 28206
Co-hosted by: Charlotte Environmental Action, Greenpeace NC, The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

Asheville
Thursday, June 19th, 7pm
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville
1 Edwin Place, Asheville, NC 28801
Co-hosted by: Southern Alliance for Clean EnergyMountain People’s AssemblyClean Water for NC

Greensboro
Thursday, June 19th, 7pm
Central Library Nussbaum Room
219 N Church St., Greensboro, NC 27405
Co-hosted by: Fund for Democratic Communities, League of Conservation Voters, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League

Raleigh
Thursday, June 19th, 7pm
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh
3313 Wade Ave, Raleigh, NC 27607
Co-hosted by: 350.org Triangle, Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, Sierra Club Capital Group,  League of Conservation Voters-NC, Triangle Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Wilmington
Thursday, June 19th, 7pm
Jengo’s Playhouse
815 Princess St. Wilmington, NC 28401
Co-hosted by: Cape Fear Sierra Club, New Hanover NAACP, Cape Fear River Watch

This February, a storm water pipe below a massive Duke Energy coal ash impoundment failed, spilling 140,000 tons of toxic-laden coal ash and contaminated wastewater into North Carolina’s Dan River. This coal ash sludge now coats the Dan for 70 miles downstream, and the full public health and economic impacts for this spill are still unknown. Dozens more coal ash impoundments across North Carolina and the Southeast are at risk of failure.

The films and post-screening programs will provide an opportunity for the public to learn about the health environmental impacts of coal ash in communities across the country, talk with community members, and get involved in efforts to hold utilities accountable for their waste.

“Coal ash is the second largest industrial waste stream in America, though it is less regulated than your household garbage,” states Amy Adams of Appalachian Voices, one of over 20 organizations partnering to present the tour.

The four films featured in Coal Ash Stories – An Ill Wind, At What Cost?, Coal Ash Chronicles, and Downwind and Downstream – paint a grim picture of what life looks like when coal ash pollutes a community. People are unable to drink their own water, take a bath, fish, or farm without worrying about long-term health effects. Similar fears are now facing communities located near other coal-fired power plants in North Carolina. Filmmaker Rhiannon Fionn, creator of Coal Ash Chronicles, states, “It is important to elevate conversations about pollution of all kinds in our country for the sake of our health and the health and viability of future generations. My hope is that films like mine will galvanize citizens who have the power to push for positive change.”

Bridget Whelan of the North Carolina Conservation Network says, “The stories we’re hearing in these films and from North Carolinians living near currently leaking coal ash ponds remind us that real people are suffering real affects from coal ash pollution. For their sake, it’s imperative that North Carolina immediately move all coal ash to safer storage, away from our water and from threatened communities.”

Ulla Reeves of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy says, “The Dan River is a tragic reminder of the dangers associated with storing coal ash in outdated, leaking impoundments next to our rivers. However, it’s not an isolated incident and communities across our region and country are living with coal ash impacts and threats on a daily basis.”

Working Films, a national nonprofit and nonpartisan organization based in Wilmington, NC, is coordinating the statewide screening tour. Working Films builds partnerships between nonfiction media-makers, nonprofit organizations, businesses, educators and advocates to advance community-based and policy solutions to social, economic, and environmental challenges. Coal Ash Stories is a new initiative using issue-specific media to support allied organizations and is part of Reel Power, a larger campaign among filmmakers and organizations working to address the negative impacts of climate change and natural resource extraction.

The NC screening tour is co-presented by Appalachian Voices, Earthjustice, North Carolina Conservation Network, NC WARN, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and Working Films. Additional collaborators include 350 Triangle, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Cape Fear River Watch, Clean Water for North Carolina, Durham People’s Alliance, Fund for Democratic Communities, League of Conservation Voters, Mountain People’s Assembly, Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, New Hanover County NAACP, Sierra Club Cape Fear Group, Sierra Club Capital Group, Sierra Club Foothills Group, and Sierra Club Headwaters Group.

Contact Kristin Henry, khenry@workingfilms.org, with any questions.

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