- Duke Energy has 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.
The agreement allows NC and VA to sue if monitoring reveals Duke is not following through on this financial commitment.
The agreement does not preclude a pending 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 by federal prosecutors.
Environmentalists continue to speculate that paying for the cleanup of toxic ash spills could put a crippling financial burden on Duke.