In court filings, Duke denies NC's coal ash allegations

From staff reportsApril 1, 2014 

A concrete pipe below this coal ash impoundment failed, releasing coal ash and ash pond water into the Dan River.

STEVEN ALEXANDER — U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

— Duke Energy has denied in court documents filed Monday the environmental violations alleged in the state’s coal ash lawsuits against it.

The utility also filed a motion to remove a group of environmental organizations from the lawsuits, arguing they don’t have the legal authority to join the enforcement action. Alternately, the company asks if the judge hearing the cases decides the groups do have a right to join the suits, they be prohibited from expanding the claims already in the case.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources sued last year to enforce what it contends are unpermitted seeps or groundwater violations at its 14 plants with coal ash ponds. Soon after, the Southern Environmental Law Center intervened in the lawsuits on behalf of the four organizations.

DENR and Duke reached a proposed settlement involving two of the plants last year, but the state withdrew it earlier this month in the wake of the February spill into the Dan River and other concerns about the facilities.

The state has filed four lawsuits in Wake and Mecklenburg counties covering all 14 plants.

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