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@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Duke Energy wants 'to regain your confidence' after coal ash spill

Posted March 23, 2014 11:44 p.m. EDT
Updated March 24, 2014 8:37 a.m. EDT

A broken pipe at a Duke Energy power plant in Eden dumped as much as 82,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River on Feb. 2, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Appalachian Voices)

— Duke Energy took out a full-page advertisement in newspapers Sundays in an effort to "regain" customer confidence following a spill from a coal ash dump last month.

The company's president and chief executive officer, Lynn Good, wrote in the ad, addressed to "the People of North Carolina," that the company is taking action to "ensure the safety of our ash basins and develop a plan for long-term management, including closure."

"Each ash basin site is unique and will require complex measures that will take time," the ad read. "Our work continues with all stakeholders, including our state regulators, to find the right solution that position North Carolina for the future."

Duke has coal ash dumps at 14 power plants in North Carolina, all of which were cited last year for polluting groundwater.

A spill from a coal ash dump in Eden on Feb. 2 coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge. Following the Dan River spill, the company has been cited for eight more violations.

The latest came last week when the company was cited for illegal dumping at a retired coal ash site in Chatham County.

Sunday's ad comes days after state regulators asked a judge to withdraw a proposed settlement that would have allowed Duke Energy to resolve environmental violations by paying a $99,000 fine with no requirement that the $50 billion company clean up its pollution.

Regulators said they will now partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pursue joint enforcement actions against Duke for Clean Water Act violations at Dan River and other sites.

Duke Energy officials are expected to be in South Carolina on Monday to discuss coal ash issues with regulators there.