Duke Energy Fined for Coal Ash Spill

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 @ 10:02 AM gHale

Duke Energy Corp. will pay a $102 million fine for environmental violations related to a power plant’s coal ash spill into a North Carolina river last year and the company’s management of coal ash basins in the state.

Duke set aside $100 million in the fourth quarter in anticipation of the settlement, the company said.

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The company ended up fined by the Department of Justice for five Clean Water Act violations at its Dan River and Riverbend steam stations and four Clean Water Act violations at the company’s H.F. Lee Steam, Cape Fear and Asheville electricity-generating plants, Duke Energy said.

Apart from the monetary fines, Duke Energy will enter a five-year probation period, during which the company agreed to establish environmental compliance plans under the supervision of a court-appointed monitor, the cost of which shall be borne by the company.

Additionally, Duke Energy will have to maintain $500 million as security to meet their obligations under the plea agreements, the company said.

A pipe break at a retired Duke coal plant triggered the third-worst coal ash spill in U.S. history, prompting North Carolina’s state Senate to ask Duke to close 33 coal ash ponds in the state within 15 years.

Duke Energy sells power to 7.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

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