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Duke Energy to pay $102 million for spilling coal ash

Staff writer |
Federal prosecutors charged Duke Energy on Friday with violating the Clean Water Act for spilling coal ash from its power plants into North Carolina rivers.

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The company said it had reached an agreement with the government to pay more than $102 million to resolve the case.

The federal investigation stems a massive coal ash spill on February 2, 2014 after a storm water pipe under an ash basin at the Dan River Coal Plan failed, releasing 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River. Ash coated the river for more than 70 miles. Investigators also looked at other Duke plants around the state.

Duke Energy said the agreement, if approved by a judge, would close an investigation and resolve nine misdemeanor Clean Water Act violations tied to the spill and unauthorized discharges at the Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C., maintenance problems at the Cape Fear Steam Electric Plant, and unauthorized discharges at steam stations and plans in Mt. Holly, Goldsboro and Asheville.

The agreement also requires Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress to pay $68.2 million in fines and restitution and $34 million for community service and mitigation.

"We are accountable for what happened at Dan River and have learned from this event," CEO Lynn Good said in a statement.

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