Duke Energy’s appeal of state decision to mandate coal ash basin excavation moves forward

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  • NCDEQ decision ignores science, would harm customers and communities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy today issued the following statement responding to an order issued in the company’s ongoing appeal of a decision by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) requiring nine coal ash basins to be closed by excavation. The company filed a case with the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) believing that NCDEQ made the wrong decision for customers and communities.

Today, the judge in the OAH proceeding entered judgement on some claims in the case; other claims continue to proceed. Separately, our Oct. 8 appeal to the state Superior Court regarding the OAH judge’s prior rulings continues to move forward; we will evaluate whether to also appeal this decision to the Superior Court.


Since 2014, we’ve made tremendous progress safely and permanently closing coal ash basins in ways that continue to protect people and the environment. We are setting an industry-leading standard with the scope and scale of our work. In North Carolina, for example:

  • Basin excavation is completed at Dan River, Sutton Plant and Riverbend Steam Station.
  • Water and ash flows have been stopped to all basins except the Asheville plant, which will retire, and basin water removal is underway at virtually every site across the state.
  • Three beneficial reuse units are under construction at Cape Fear, Buck and HF Lee.

Common sense and the Coal Ash Management Act (CAMA) tell us that basin closure decisions should be driven by science and engineering, but NCDEQ has chosen the most expensive, disruptive and time-consuming closure option for several basins – without any measurable benefit – when compared to other approaches. In the process, NCDEQ has ignored the costs that customers will bear and has ignored key aspects of CAMA.

While today’s ruling is disappointing, we will continue working to protect people and the environment, within the rules as set forth under state law as we consider our next steps.

About Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2019 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

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