Judge orders Duke ‘take immediate action’ to halt contamination

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A Superior Court judge today ruled in favor of conservation groups requesting that Duke Energy stop contaminating groundwater at its 14 coal-fired power plants statewide.

The judge ruled that Duke must “take immediate action to eliminate sources” of contamination, according to the ruling. The company must do so regardless of the continuing negotiations it has pending with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources over past groundwater contamination.

The ruling applies to both closed and open coal ash pits.

“The ruling leaves no doubt: Duke Energy is past due on its obligation to eliminate the sources of groundwater contamination, its unlined coal ash pits, and the state has both the authority and a duty to require action now,” said D.J. Gerken, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, who represented the conservation groups in the case.

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