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N Carolina agency’s Duke Energy coal ash excavation backed

August 2, 2019

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina hearing officer says a state agency can order the country’s largest electric company to excavate all its coal ash pits by 2030 so that they quit polluting neighboring rivers.

A state administrative judge on Friday dismissed claims by Duke Energy Corp. that North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality can’t order the work that could cut the risk of toxic chemicals leaking into water supplies.

The company’s administrative appeal represents the first round of a legal fight that could continue for years.

Duke Energy wants to instead cover the storage pits at six power plants with a waterproof cap that stops rain from filtering chemicals through the unlined bottoms. The company said Friday capping the sites would be quicker and cheaper since excavation could cost billions of dollars.

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