Duke Energy’s plea seen as a turning point in coal ash fight

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FILE - In this April 25, 2014, file photo, Bryant Gobble, left, hugs his wife, Sherry Gobble, right, as they look from their yard across an ash pond full of dead trees toward Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station in Dukeville, N.C. (Chuck Burton/News & Record)

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Many environmentalists see Duke Energy’s guilty plea and sentencing here last week as a potential turning point in their battle against coal ash, a turning point that could have implications well beyond North Carolina’s borders, according to The Greensboro News & Record.

In addition to socking Duke Energy with the largest criminal fine in the history of the state’s federal court system, the accompanying plea bargain requires the utility to prepare a “national environmental compliance plan” that applies to more than 30 ash ponds it operates in four other states.

It also sends a message to utilities with coal ash ponds that they could face similar federal criminal penalties — anywhere in the nation.

Read full story: The Greensboro News & Record