- Subpoenaed records show Duke Energy engineers warned for almost 30 years that a corrugated metal storm water pipe running under a North Carolina coal ash containment pond could leak and cause a spill.
- A February 2 coal ash spill from the utility’s pond dumped 39,000 tons of coal plant residue in North Carolina’s Dan River.
- The records were subpoenaed by federal investigators as part of a criminal investigation into the spill and into the workings of the close relationship between Duke executives and North Carolina politicians and regulators that has produced 23 grand jury subpoenas of Duke and state officials.
Duke Energy this month completed an agreement with U.S. EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representatives for North Carolina and Virginia that will obligate it to pay “any reasonable cost” to clean up its toxic coal ash spill into the Dan River early this year.
Duke has already spent $15 million to restrain the February 2 spill at Eden, North Carolina, and on crews vacuuming up large pockets of toxic ash that settled to the bottom of the river as far downstream as Danville, Virginia.
The agreement puts no cap on Duke’s financial obligation and requires the utility to pay for continued monitoring of aquatic life impacts by government agencies. Duke Energy told North Carolina regulators it could cost $7-10 billion and take up to 30 years to clean up all the utility’s coal ash ponds in the state.