RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sherry Gobble loves living in the middle of nowhere and would have been perfectly happy to sit on her porch and watch the birds land on her pond and never go to lobby in Raleigh.
Coal ash, well water turn Rowan mom into citizen lobbyist
This woman's discovery got her out of her rocking chair literally and on the road to Raleigh with her two kids in tow to personally lobby her state lawmakers to clean up coal ash. Her 10-year-old son Nathan cheered her on.
I'm a wife and mother. I don't have time for all that, she said.
But Sherry, her husband and her kids live next to a coal ash pond behind the Buck Steam Station in Rowan County, and she recently found out from tests conducted by the Waterkeeper Alliance that her well water has lead and a cancer causing chemical called hexavalent chromium or chromium 6 in it.
The discovery got her out of her rocking chair literally and on the road to Raleigh with her two kids in tow to personally lobby her state lawmakers to clean up coal ash. Her 10-year-old son Nathan cheered her on. He said, We ve got to do something, Mom! We ve got to do something about this!
Walking to the legislative building, tracking down her state Senator Andrew Brock, Sherry wanted to ask him personally to order Duke to clean up the coal ash.
I wanted to share my story. I'm not going to yell or scream. I'm just not going to do that, she said.
But when she gets in the office Sherry is passionate because her children's health is at stake.
I mean you can understand my concerns, she tells the lawmaker. My children are high in selenium. I'm scared to death.
She showed the Senator a photo of her home, her land, flipping through her tablet.
It's a $400,000 house. 14 acres of land. I'm scared. I don t want to lose this. This is my life. This is my dream home, she says.
Some people protest at the state house. Some people shout. Some people get arrested. Sherry and her son just speak quietly but earnestly.
I'm not trying to fight anybody. I don't want to sue anybody. I just want what's right to be done, she says.
The Senator assures the group he's willing to be tough with Duke.
I told Duke you clean this up or we're going to come down on you like a hammer, Senator Brock says. We want you to be a responsible citizen.
Senator Brock did listen to us and for that I'm very appreciative, Sherry says afterward.
But she wants tangible action.
She wants the coal ash ponds behind her home at the Buck station and every leaky coal ash pond to be a priority. Not just the four listed in the Senate bill.
But in Raleigh, there are no guarantees.
You do have to wonder what's going on in Raleigh, she says.
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