MOUNTAIN ISLAND LAKE, N.C. -- Duke Energy said Friday that it will close two of it's coal-fired power plants two years ahead of schedule.
One is the Buck plant in Rowan County, the other is Riverbend Steam located near Mountain Island Lake on the Gaston-Mecklenburg County line.
Mountain Island Lake is Charlotte's primary source of drinking water.
Duke is moving to close several smaller coal plants -- converting them to meet federal pollution regulations would cost millions of dollars.
"Actually it's good news," said David Ashburn when he heard the plant would be closing in April. He has lived on the lake for seven years.
Ashburn worries about the residue left from burning coal. It is called coal ash and is stored in a giant earthen pond near the lake.
The Catawba Riverkeeper organization has raised questions in the past about seepage from the pond into the lake.
Duke Energy has maintained that the seepage is within regulations, is not a health threat, and said the water in the lake is safe.
"[I'm] just glad we may not have as much issues with that plant and maybe have some cleaner water," said Ashburn.
"If it gives us less pollution, I would go for it. I'm in favor of getting rid of it," said another neighbor near the plant, David Abrea, of the decision to close early.
Still to be decided is when and how Duke will dispose of the ash ponds.
Erin Culbert, a Duke spokesperson, said that the company would explore several options and engineering studies would be done before a final decision is made on the ponds.
About 65 employees work at the two plants now. Duke said it will try to place those workers in other jobs.