An environmental group says Duke Energy is polluting a lake and two river basins with coal ash from its Person County power plant. The utility company disputes those accusations and says the waters are safe.
The administration of Gov. Pat McCrory, a former employee of Duke Energy, has also been its chief regulator on coal ash. The Duke-McCrory ties have become campaign fodder, with critics claiming McCrory has been soft on Duke while the governor takes credit for aggressive action on ash.
Attorneys for several environmental groups on Tuesday asked a judge to compel Gov. Pat McCrory’s top aide to answer questions in a deposition about interactions among the utility, the governor and state regulators involved in coal ash pollution cleanup.
Duke Energy wants to stop environmental attorneys from disclosing the deposition of a key state health agency official in a lawsuit that involves the safety of drinking water wells near coal ash basins. The utility says the lawyers have publicized and mischaracterized testimony in previous depositions and continuing to do so would jeopardize its right to a fair trial.