Duke Energy Sued For 2014 Coal Ash Spill Environmental Harm

Jul 18, 2019

RALEIGH -- The federal, North Carolina and Virginia governments want a judge to declare the country's largest electricity company liable for environmental damage from a leak five years ago that left miles of a river shared by the two states coated in hazardous coal ash.

Coal ash separates from sediment scooped from the bed of the Dan River days after the spill in 2014.
Credit BEN BRADFORD / WFAE

Government lawyers on Thursday sought to have Charlotte-based Duke Energy declared responsible for harming fish, birds, amphibians and the bottom of the Dan River. Lawyers say high levels of hazardous substances like arsenic and selenium poured into the river.

A settlement also filed with the court for public review indicates the restoration work is close to wrapping up. Duke Energy says three years of testing until 2017 found no long-term effects to the waterway.

The company pleaded guilty to environmental crimes in 2015 and paid $102 million.