Duke Energy ordered to excavate remaining coal ash sites in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina ordered Duke Energy to excavate coal ash at all six remaining sites in the state.

N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) said it completed a "rigorous scientific review" of Duke Energy's proposal for the remaining coal ash sites and determined all of the coal ash at those sites must be disposed of in a lined landfill.

"DEQ rigorously reviewed the proposals, and the science points us clearly to excavation as the only way to protect public health and the environment," said DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan.

Duke Energy has until Aug. 1 to submit final excavation closure plans for the Allen, Belews, Cliffside/Rogers, Marshall, Mayo and Roxboro facilities.

More: Read all ABC11 coal ash stories here

Gov. Roy Cooper released the following statement about DEQ's decision:

"This is a strong order that follows the science and prioritizes clean water and public health. We've seen the damage this pollution can do including the families who had to live for years on bottled water until we were able to get them connected to permanent water solutions. Now the cleanup of remaining coal ash needs to move ahead efficiently and effectively."

Frank Holleman, the senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center called the DEQ decision, "one of the most important statements in our state's history. It's refreshing that we have a DEQ and a governor putting the public interest & clean water first, even in the face of a very powerful corporation."

Note: Video found in this article is from a story ABC11 did in 2017 about Duke Energy trying to pass coal ash cleanup costs onto customers.
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