Duke Energy, Feds Reach Settlement On Coal Ash Spill

Feb 20, 2015

The coal ash pond at the Duke Energy power plant by the Dan River.
Credit NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources

A deal has been reached to end a federal grand jury investigation into Duke Energy over the Dan River coal ash spill.

"We are accountable for what happened at Dan River and have learned from this event," said Lynn Good, president and CEO of Duke Energy, in a statement. "We are setting a new standard for coal ash management and implementing smart, sustainable solutions for all of our ash basins.”

Under the settlement terms, Duke Energy will pay $68 million in fines and $34 million in community service and mitigation. Duke Energy says shareholders will bear the responsibility of the costs, not customers.

The agreement includes a five-year probationary period with a court-appointed monitor to ensure compliance.

The U.S. District Court in Eastern North Carolina still has to approve the settlement.

Other lawsuits filed by environmental groups and the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources are still in the courts.