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Duke Energy must close North Carolina coal ash ponds

Staff Writer |
Duke Energy must clean up its coal ash ponds in North Carolina by 2024 under a new proposal from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

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The agency directs Duke Energy to dig up and close coal ash pits at eight sites by 2019 and at 25 locations by 2024, and asks for changes to the state’s coal ash law that will allow for a reconsideration of the safety risks in 18 months after Duke Energy has time to make repairs to its facilities.

"The residents’ well water meets federal requirements for safe drinking water. However, Duke Energy has submitted a study that evaluates the feasibility of supplying permanent alternative water to nearby residents.

"The state environmental department will recommend to the General Assembly that the classifications be re-evaluated after the dam safety repairs are made and the utility provides these permanent alternative water sources to nearby well owners," the regulator said.

Duke Energy issued a statement in response.

"If NCDEQ's proposed recommendations are allowed to stand, without review and possible adjustments based on additional new information, the state will have chosen the most extreme closure option that will have a significant impact on customer costs and hinder economic development.

"In addition, it will cause decades of disruption to communities, all without additional, measurable environmental benefits. Given the scope of work, there is significant risk in meeting excavation deadlines by 2024.

"We will seek to clarify CAMA within 60 days to help ensure the law is implemented in a way that makes North Carolina a thoughtful leader on this issue."

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