Duke Energy And DENR Receive Subpoenas Related To Coal Ash Spill

Feb 14, 2014

The Dan River flows through Danville, VA 22 miles down stream from the site of a coal ash spill in Eden. Officials say treated water there remains safe to drink.
Credit Jeff Tiberii

The federal government has issued subpoenas to Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The U.S. Attorney is investigating a suspected felony. The subpoenas dated Monday seek a wide range of documents, reports and photographs related to the recent coal ash spill into the Dan River. It’s not clear what felony the federal government suspects Duke or DENR of having committed. A metal pipe beneath a coal ash pond ruptured 11 days ago, sending potentially toxic material into the river. 

"Well my hope is, that this will get the attention of the board of Duke Energy. It is clear that their management is not managing this company in an appropriate way," said Frank Holleman, a Senior Attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Holleman accused DENR of being cozy with Duke and unable to properly police the utility. The publicly traded company has 31 coal ash ponds around the state. Those ponds store the byproduct of coal burned to create energy. Environmentalists say the ponds pollute local water ways and need to be removed.  Spokesmen from DENR and Duke said they will cooperate with the subpoenas.