Administrative Court Confirms State Authority to Require Duke Energy Clean Up its Coal Ash Pollution

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—A North Carolina administrative law judge today confirmed the state of North Carolina’s authority to require cleanup of Duke Energy’s coal ash pollution of groundwater, dismissing part of Duke Energy’s challenge to the state’s April orders instructing Duke Energy to fully remove all coal ash from its unlined, leaking lagoons in six communities across North Carolina.

“Today’s dismissal puts to rest the notion that DEQ was premature in selecting a  remedy for Duke’s coal ash pollution – an issue that has been studied for years and received multiple rounds of public comment – and allows the case to focus instead on DEQ’s decision to require a full cleanup,” said D.J. Gerken, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, which is representing conservation and community groups opposing Duke Energy in the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings and supporting the state’s scientific determinations made in April 2019.  “Duke Energy’s coal ash should not be left covered up in unlined pits to pollute in place for generations beside our lakes and rivers and continue to put North Carolina’s communities at risk.”

The Southern Environmental Law Center represents the following groups in the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings proceedings: Appalachian Voices, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, MountainTrue, Roanoke River Basin Association, Sierra Club, the Stokes County Branch of the NAACP, and Waterkeeper Alliance.

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For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With more than 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org

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