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Duke Energy to pay US$102 million for coal ash crimes

Published by
World Coal,

Duke Energy, the largest utility corporation in the United States, has pled guilty to environmental crimes over a North Carolina power plant's coal ash spill into a river and management of coal ash basins in the state. The company has also settled to pay US$102 million in fines and environmental fees.

Duke pleaded guilty to nine violations of the Clean Water Act with the fine comprising of US$68 million in criminal fines and US$34 million that will go toward environmental projects and land conservation.

Coal ash was permitted to enter waterways in five of Duke’s power plants over several decades. Wide scale problems included the documented issues with the 48-inch pipe that would eventually cause the spill into the Dan River in February 2014.

The stormwater pipe beneath a coal ash pond at Duke's retired power plant in Eden ruptured, releasing up to 27 million gallons of wastewater and as much as 39 000 t of coal combustion residue into the river that supplies drinking water to two towns in neighbouring Virginia.

A official statement from Duke reads, “We are implementing innovative and sustainable closure solutions for all of our ash basins, building on the important steps we've taken over the past year to strengthen our operations. Our highest priority is to operate our system as safely as possible for the customers and communities we serve.”

Edited from various sources by Joseph Green. Sources: NY Times, Al Jazeera, Duke Energy

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