Duke Energy Loses Second Appeal On Coal Ash Excavation Order

Duke Energy Loses Second Appeal On Coal Ash Excavation Order

11:52am Oct 31, 2019
The coal ash storage pond at Duke Energy's Belews Creek plant. KERI BROWN/WFDD

An administrative judge has upheld an order requiring Duke Energy to remove coal ash from sites around North Carolina. This is the second time the company has lost an appeal in the case.

The ruling Monday by North Carolina Administrative Law Judge Selina Malherbe says the state’s Department of Environmental Quality did not abuse its authority when it ordered Duke Energy to excavate coal ash basins at six sites, including the Belews Creek Station in Stokes County.

The News & Record reports it’s the second time Malherbe has dismissed arguments Duke Energy has made regarding the timing and validity of DEQ’s order.

The appeals stemmed from the environmental department’s ruling last spring that the company must remove submerged coal ash at its North Carolina power plant sites and store it in lined landfills.

Even with the judge’s ruling, Duke Energy maintains that mandated excavation is costly and unnecessary. A spokesman says neighboring water supplies would be safe even if the remaining ash is capped in place. 

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