Environmental groups launched new lawsuits today against Duke Energy for pollution from the company’s coal ash ponds in North Carolina, adding more strands to a tangled web of litigation between Duke, environmental groups and state regulators.
Environmental groups, led by the Southern Environmental Law Center, now have five suits against Duke for allowing coal ash to pollute groundwater at different sites. The three today come despite objections from state regulators, who have their own suits against Duke. Those suits initially blocked environmental groups from taking action, so the environmental groups also sued the regulators.
Duke, for its part, denies any malfeasance, but argues the lawsuits from state regulators should prevent the ones from environmental groups.
It boils down to this: The state, including regulators and lawmakers, want to use a new law, awaiting Governor Pat McCrory’s signature, to address the pollution. Duke has generally backed that plan. Environmental groups think it doesn’t go far enough, and this is the latest push for a judge to decide, instead.