- Duke Energy asked a North Carolina court to reconsider a $6.6 million fine issued by the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) last month in reponse to the controversial 2014 accident that resulted in 39,000 tons of coal ash leaking into the Dan River from one of its ash storage facilities, the Charlotte Observer reports.
- Duke said in a statement emailed to the news outlet that it takes responsibility for the incident, but called the amount of the fine arbitrary and unfair.
- The utility pleaded guilty to nine misdemeanor violations of the Clean Water Act committed by three of its subsidiaries in the Dan River spill, and reached a $102 million settlement with federal authorities in addition to a $7 million settlement with the state's DEQ
Duke's coal ash troubles are far from over as the utility attempts to appeal a $6.6 million fine at the end of the 30-day window after the fine was issued on Feb. 8. DEQ Secretary Donald van der Vaart said the fine is necessary to hold the major energy provider accountable.
“The state is holding Duke Energy accountable so that it and others understand there are consequences to breaking the law,” said DEQ Secretary Donald van der Vaart. “We are moving forward with enforcement actions against Duke Energy for not complying with environmental laws that protect North Carolina’s environment from catastrophes like the Dan River spill.”
A 48-inch stormwater pipe in the retired Dan River Steam Station ruptured in 2014, dumping tens of thousands of tons of toxic coal ash waste in the nearby Dan River.
The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in June the state’s 2014 coal ash law allows Duke Energy until 2029 to complete its coal ash site clean-up in the state. The justices agreed the law, passed in response to the utility's Dan River spill, gives Duke until 2019 to close 4 high-priority sites and to 2029 to close the rest.