- Duke Energy shareholders have filed a complaint May 22 against the utility's board of directors, alleging that the board's failure to abide by the rules and clean up its coal ash ponds in North Carolina have left shareholders liable for billions of dollars in avoidable costs.
- The complaint accuses the board of knowing that the ponds were seeping contaminants into groundwater for years. The "board caused or allowed Duke Energy to operate without proper permits, continuously pollute the environment, and fail to properly inspect the company's coal ash ponds," the complaint reads.
- The filing calls on the board to boost internal controls of waste disposal and to comply with federal and state regulations. The filing also calls on the company to remove coal ash from 14 of its North Carolina coal-fired power plants, which the utility was originally ordered to do in March.
The complaint adds to 23 federal grand jury subpoenas against the utility, state officials and regulators following the Dan River coal ash spill.
Duke Energy operates a total of 33 coal ash ponds in North Carolina that regulators and shareholders want to get rid of. Duke Energy has warned that the cost of doing so is likely to be $10 billion or more, and that it could take thirty years to complete.
Federal prosecutors have similarly accused Duke Energy and North Carolina state regulators of neglecting their duties to protect the environment.
The lawsuit comes just days after the Environmental Protection Agency and Duke Energy agreed over how to proceed with the clean up of the spill in the Dan River. Duke Energy will foot the bill for the clean up, though it is not yet known how much it will cost. Thus far, the utility has yet to have any fines imposed on it for the spill.