Wallace & Graham's Environmental Litigation


Wallace & Graham’s Environmental Litigation

You may be aware of how the environment is being affected by climate change, fossil fuels, deforestation, or other environmental concerns. The right to a healthy environment and clean water is one of our most essential rights.  A healthy environment promotes our natural way of life and survival. In fact, most of everything surrounding us is an extension of the environment:

  • We use printed paper for our 9 to 5 jobs that comes from trees.
  • We use water that comes from water systems connected to streams, rivers, and lakes to wash our hands and cook our food.
  • We eat food grown in soil that contains nutrients that assist in food growth.

The environment contributes to our daily lives in multiple ways and it is necessary and critical for us all to maintain and protect it. Wallace & Graham has worked hard to ensure that corporate actors are fulfilling that obligation and duty to our environment.

One of the most notable cases Wallace & Graham has tackled recently has been coal ash contamination. Duke Energy has been burning coal since 1911 in the Carolinas, and their first coal-fired plants were developed in Greensboro N.C., and Greenville, S.C. One of the biggest challenges is how to burn coal cleanly and sustainably. 

Coal Ash contains toxins that can harshly affect individuals and the environment such as:


  • Chromium
  • Arsenic
  • Lead
  • Selenium 


Coal Ash toxins can dissipate through the topsoil and have the potential to pollute waterways, groundwater, and the air. Those toxins can move through the environment by runoff and erosion. In turn, that runoff and erosion can contaminate streams and rivers that can harm wildlife. 


When the Dan River spill occurred, the residents’ quality of water was called into question. After the spill, the Coal Ash Management Act was passed by the state legislature in 2014.

In 2016, the Coal Ash Management Act was amended, and HB630 stated Duke must provide connections to public water supplies and filter systems. Several residents of neighborhoods near Duke coal plants began and continue to speak out against the effects of Coal Ash. 

Wallace & Graham filed a lawsuit in Raleigh on behalf of residents that lived within one-half mile of coal ash ponds at Duke’s plants. The ponds were unlined, and litigants alleged that contaminants may have leaked and harmed their environment and property.

Our firm has worked to investigate and minimize negative environmental impacts that have affected over 400 neighbors of coal ash ponds in Brown, et. al. v. Duke Energy. The Duke Energy coal ash litigation is an example of just one matter that Wallace & Graham has pursued to promote a healthy environment.

Today challenges with the environment continue to press on as it becomes imperative for us to contribute, protect, sustain, and resolve issues. Wallace and Graham’s law firm is proud to be a part of litigation aimed to protect and/or restore the environment. If you have any concerns regarding nearby hazardous operations or conditions near might affect you, family, or environment please call Wallace& Graham P.A. at (704) 633-5244.

Environmental Pollution

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