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Thu Oct 1, 2015, 01:39 PM

Duke Energy 'Settlement' Slashes Fine, Grants Amnesty for Coal Ash Pollution

Environmental organizations condemned deal as a steal for the corporation—and a bad deal for the North Carolina's environment and people
by Sarah Lazare

North Carolina regulators on Tuesday agreed to dramatically slash a fine initially imposed on Duke Energy for its coal ash pollution at a site in the west of the state—and grant the company amnesty for dumps at all of its 14 locations—prompting outcry from communities and environmental organizations.

"In another typical move, DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality] is cutting Duke Energy a break and failing to demand action," said Amy Adams of the advocacy organization Appalachian Voices. "Apparently, they missed the state motto, Esse quam videri, 'To be rather than to seem,' because seeming to be environmental protectors is about all they have done with this settlement."

The deal was struck during a court hearing between Duke Energy and DEQ, which changed its name from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources due to an apparent reorganization of state departments earlier this month. It stipulates that DEQ will abandon charges over pollution at the L.V. Sutton power plant, where high levels of boron were found in groundwater.

Going further, the deal will settle groundwater contamination cases at all of Duke's 14 coal ash dump locations across the state.



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