- Duke Energy last week said it would soon publish inundation maps and emergency contact information related to safety planning for coal ash storage facilities on its website, reversing its previous policy of not publishing the information.
- Earthjustice had announced its intention to sue Duke Energy in Kentucky in order to compel the utility to disclose critical information the environmental group argued was required by federal law.
- While the utility company initially refused to release the information, it later released a statement saying it was "revisiting the issue" and had determined the data should be made available to the public.
In a quick reversal, Duke Energy has said it will make coal ash information public, including contact information for emergency responders and maps showing where the waste would spill at each site in the event of a dam breach.
According to the Courier-Journal, Duke issued a statement saying its previous policy "relied on the historical interpretation of state law designed to safeguard information about critical infrastructure. After revisiting the issue ... we agree it is appropriate to post additional information and make it available to the public."
Maps and other information will be made public over the next few weeks.
Several utilities including Tennessee Valley Authority, Alabama Power and Ohio-based American Electric Power do post additional information in their plans, the AP has noted.
“Communities near these coal dumps have a right to know what dangers they are facing,” Earthjustice attorney Jenny Cassel said in a statement.
Kentucky has more than 40 coal ash ponds, which Earthjustice says is the third-largest number in the nation. According to the conservation group, almost all of the ponds were built without liners to keep chemicals from leaking into groundwater or nearby surface water.
This isn't the only coal ash controversy that Duke Energy is dealing with. In North Carolina, Duke's coal ash struggles will be on public display in the utility's rate case. Charlotte Business News reports the N.C. Attorney General’s Office and the Public Staff of the N.C. Utilities Commission have filed notices of depositions, seeking information related to the utility's coal ash storage practices.
Earlier this year, Duke indicated coal ash cleanup costs could exceed $5 billion over the next several years, with most of those costs showing up in North Carolina.