Duke Energy says moving NC coal ash could cost $10 billion

 

A Duke Energy Corp. executive told North Carolina lawmakers Tuesday that moving its coal ash away from rivers and lakes in the state could cost up to $10 billion and take decades — and its customers are likely to pay for it.

The presentation by Paul Newton, Duke’s president for North Carolina, came amid calls from environmental groups for legislation to require that coal ash be stored in lined landfills away from waterways, The Associated Press reported.

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A Feb. 2 spill poured coal ash from Duke’s Eden, N.C., power plant into the Dan River. Coal ash is a byproduct of coal-fired power generation that contains toxins such as arsenic, mercury, lead and hexavalent chromium.

Newton asked that Duke have flexibility in dealing with its coal ash problems, AP said. He suggested removing coal ash from unlined dumps at four North Carolina plants and covering the ash at 10 other sites with soil and plastic.

The state has determined that all of Duke’s coal ash dumps in North Carolina — 33 sites at 14 plants — are contaminating groundwater, AP reported. The company has more than 100 million tons of coal ash, Newton told lawmakers.