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Coal Ash 140 articles

NC court says Duke Energy coal ash cleanup can slide

Duke Energy does not have to begin cleaning up coal ash ponds that are contaminating the ground water in several locations across North Carolina, the state Supreme Court ruled June 11, overturning the decision of a lower state court last spring. Duke, the largest provider of electricity in the country, has been fighting environmental groups for years over its coal ash ponds, which store the toxic byproducts of coal burning. Environmental groups tried to sue Duke Energy three times in 2013 to force the company to clean up its 33 coal ash dumps throughout the state. The environmental groups took legal action ... Read More

Duke Energy pleads guilty to criminal coal-ash pollution charges

North Carolina’s Duke Energy pleaded guilty Thursday to nine violations of the U.S. Clean Water Act and will pay $192 million in criminal fines and restitution for illegally releasing toxic waste from five of its power plants into the environment. The energy giant’s plea is part of a settlement with federal prosecutors and concludes an investigation that began after a pipe collapsed under a coal ash waste pond in February 2014, spilling 82,000 tons of toxic waste into the Dan River on the North Carolina-Virginia border. The spill covered 70 miles of the river in toxic gray sludge – waste ... Read More

Virginia, Duke Energy reach agreement over coal ash spill

Duke Energy Corp. has agreed to pay $2.5 million as part of a proposed settlement with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) over its 2014 coal ash spill that flooded the Dan River with 39,000 tons of toxic waste. The settlement, one of the largest the agency has ever proposed, designates $2.25 million for environmental projects benefiting Virginia communities harmed by the spill. The remaining $250,000 will be deposited in a fund that state regulators tap to cover expenses involved in responding to environmental emergencies. “This order is a significant step forward in Virginia’s efforts to protect our communities ... Read More

Duke Energy agrees to coal ash spill cleanup plan with federal officials

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Thursday that it and Duke Energy of North Carolina agreed on a plan to clean up the energy company’s massive coal ash spill that flooded the Dan River with about 40,000 tons of toxic coal waste February 2. According to the terms of the agreement, the EPA will supervise Duke Energy’s spill cleanup efforts. The North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and federal wildlife officials will also provide input and consultation. Duke is required to reimburse the EPA for all costs the agency incurs in ... Read More

Duke Energy says customers will pay its hefty coal ash cleanup costs

Duke Energy’s CEO Lynn Good said that its customers will pay the costs of cleaning up dozens of the company’s toxic waste sites throughout North Carolina, many of which are contaminating the groundwater with arsenic and heavy metals. Last week, a North Carolina Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the Southern Environmental Law Center, ordering Duke to take “immediate action” to stop its 33 coal ash ponds across the state from further contaminating the groundwater with arsenic, mercury, lead, and several other toxic heavy metals and contaminants. The order was issued after one of Duke’s coal ash ponds spilled ... Read More

Toxic coal ash sludge blankets more than 70 miles of riverbed, lake bottoms

While North Carolina environmental regulators have been downplaying the risks posed by Duke Energy’s massive coal ash spill, U.S. officials said Tuesday that the highly toxic coal ash has coated the bottom of the Dan River up to 70 miles downstream of the spill site. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said that near Duke Energy’s Dan River facility, the toxic sludge has formed a giant pile 75 feet long and 5 feet deep. More than 82,000 tons of coal ash containing arsenic, heavy metals, and other toxins flowed into the Dan River Feb. 2 from a 27-acre ash pond ... Read More

N.C. toxic coal ash cleanup mired in political interests

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources asked a judge last week to throw out its own proposed settlement with Duke Energy over pollution leaking from waste dumps at its power plants. The state agency requested the action the day after an Associated Press (AP) story was published, describing the settlement as a “sweetheart deal” between state regulators and Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electrical company. The proposed settlement would have had Duke pay fines of just $99,111 for pollution that spilled from coal ash dumps in Asheville and Charlotte. State regulators and Duke reached the settlement before ... Read More

North Carolina power plant spills tons of toxic coal ash into river

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Charlotte-based energy supplier blamed a broken storm water pipe at a shuttered power plant for spilling up to 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River near the Virginia border. Duke Energy Corp. said that coal ash, a waste product created  by burning coal to generate electricity, spilled into the river from a 27-acre ash pond at the Dan River Steam Station about 30 miles north of Greensboro. The plant has been inactive since 2012, but the site was never cleaned up. The company said that a 48-inch pipe underneath the ash pond broke ... Read More

Judge finds TVA liable for December 2008 coal ash spill

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) did not build its holding ponds according to plan, did not train its inspectors to ensure the stability of the dikes, and did not properly maintain its Kingston, Tenn., facility in order to prevent one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, a U.S. District judge ruled Thursday. TVA will be held liable for the December 2008 coal ash spill that dumped more than a billion gallons of toxic sludge onto a neighboring community. The ruling allows the hundreds of plaintiffs who filed lawsuits against the TVA to move one step closer to recovering for ... Read More

Trial underway to determine liability in TVA coal ash spill litigation

U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan began preliminary matters Thursday in Knoxville, Tenn., regarding the massive coal ash spill that dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of sludge from a TVA storage pond into the Emory River and surrounding community on Dec. 22, 2008. The toxic tidal wave poured from a breached containment pond at the Kingston Plant and affected hundreds of people who made their home in nearby Roane County, Tenn. This trial will determine liability in the case, but will not address damages at this time. According to a news report by the Associated Press, “The Environmental Protection Agency has ... Read More