- Duke Energy will move wet coal ash to lined landfills from retired power plants on the Dan and Catawba rivers, CEO Lynn Good told the North Carolina Utilities Commission and state lawmakers. The company also will move ash from a working power plant in Asheville, and will shut down some ash ponds here or convert them to dry storage.
- As a federal grand jury investigates possible criminal behavior connected to the ash pond spill from Duke's shuttered Dan River plant in February, the utility is scrambling to answer demands that it take care of leaks and address the potential for future leaks at other sites in the state. The grand jury is also probing criminality in the relationship between Duke and the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
- An internal task force and outside experts are reviewing all of Duke's ash sites and will report by the end of May, Good said, promising the company would produce plans to secure ash ponds at all its retired power plants by the end of the year.
The CEO letter is a start. Its "disciplined, fact-based approach to evaluating long-term solutions" to coal-ash storage may satisfy the legion of environmentalist critics who have sued and picketed over the company's coal ash practices -- but it isn't likely.
"Duke has yet to make it clear what it is going to do for the other 11 communities (in North Carolina) that are still faced with the possibility of a catastrophe," Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Frank Holleman said.
And yet to come are battles over who should pay for all the work. Duke will pay to clean up the Dan River spill, Good has said, but clearing up issues at all the other sites? Duke wants ratepayers to pick up the bill. The Public Utilities Commission will have to deal with that.