Lunch Break (8/17/16): Erin Brockovich weighs in on NC coal ash contamination

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Famed lawyer and environmental health advocate Erin Brockovich has cited the continuing coal ash crisis in North Carolina as a reason federal regulators must set a nationwide "maximum contaminant level" for hexavalent chromiums found in residents' drinking water. 

In a joint letter to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy, Brockovich and Environmental Working Group President Tim Cook wrote: "We write with deep concern about this continued delay. It is clear that the delay is sowing confusion among state and local regulators, utilities and the public about how much hexavalent chromium is safe in drinking water. This confusion is resulting in many Americans’ exposure to unregulated levels of hexavalent chromium that federal, state and independent scientists agree pose health hazards." 

The letter went on to name North Carolina as an example for why these regulations are needed following a controversy regarding Gov. Pat McCrory and his staff seeking to retract “do-not-drink” warnings directed at some residents whose tap water comes from wells likely tainted by hexavalent chromium from nearby Duke Energy coal-burning facilities.

"States like North Carolina, where industrial byproducts like coal ash increase the risk of hexavalent chromium contamination, need a federal mandate to set strong, health-protective standards for levels of the contaminant in drinking water," Brockovich and Cook wrote. "Without it, states will continue to use inconsistent and potentially unsafe guidelines, and leave citizens confused about whether their drinking water is safe."

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Detectives with CMPD's Armed Robbery Unit are asking for the public's help in identifying a man who attempted to rob a gas station near the Noda neighborhood last week. Police say the man pictured below walked into Sam's Mart on The Plaza on August 12 and attempted to rob the business at gunpoint. He left before receiving any property. Anyone with information concerning this case or the suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. 

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CMPD has charged James Leaks, 51, with the murder of Darrell Cureton, 49, in southwest Charlotte. Police responded to an assault call on Plymouth Drive and found Cureton suffering from a stab wound. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. The initial investigation indicates that Cureton and Leaks knew each other and no other suspects are being sought. 

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Two men are facing a slew of charges for their involvement in a series of armed robberies in late July and early August. Trey Lindsay and Derrick Pettus, both 30 years old, were arrested yesterday and later charged for the series of armed robberies.

Derrick Pettus
  • Derrick Pettus
On July 27, the two men allegedly tried to rob a Jack in the Box on Westinghouse Boulevard, but were unsuccessful. An hour later, they allegedly robbed a Domino's on W. W.T. Harris Boulevard. The two men allegedly picked up where they left off at the beginning of the new month, robbing a Steak and Shake on N. Sardis Road and the hitting a Justice store on Rea Road the following day. In each of the robberies, the suspects either brandished or threatened the use of firearms. 

Yesterday, Lindsay was charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit
Trey Lindsay
  • Trey Lindsay
 robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and attempted  robbery with a dangerous weapon. Pettus was charged with four counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, four counts of second-degree kidnapping, three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and served an unrelated warrant for embezzlement. Both suspects were then transferred to the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.

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