Duke Energy’s North Carolina State President, Paul Newton, yesterday spoke before the N.C. Joint Environmental Review Commission (ERC) on the company’s response to the Feb. 2 Dan River coal ash incident and its near-term and longer-term actions to address coal ash across the state.
“Duke Energy is committed to working with policymakers and regulators to implement both short- and long-term solutions to coal ash management in North Carolina,” said Newton.
Newton told the ERC the company takes full responsibility for the Dan River incident. He also discussed the significant steps Duke Energy has taken on the site and in the river since the company’s previous update to the ERC on Feb. 17. These include:
– Ongoing water sampling that demonstrates the Dan River has returned to normal water quality conditions, and drinking water remains safe;
– Removing an ash deposit near the Dan River site and preparations to begin removing an ash deposit behind the Schoolfield Dam near Danville, Va. in the coming weeks;
– Continuing to work constructively with federal and state experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) to monitor the river and evaluate additional remediation efforts.
Newton said as a result of Duke Energy’s recently completed $9 billion power plant fleet modernization program, the company has retired more plants than any other time in its history. The company had always planned to permanently close its ash basins as it retires units, following existing industry norms and compliance expectations of state and federal regulators.
Duke, the nation’s largest electricity company, has spent more than $15 million to plug the pipe that collapsed at its Eden plant. It has also begun dredging out large deposits of ash found on the river bottom at three locations, the furthest more than 20 miles downstream in Danville, Va.
Press Release, April 23, 2014