N.C. agency partners with EPA on joint approach to coal-ash cleanup

Press release from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

State environmental agency, EPA to pursue joint approach to coal ash clean-up

RALEIGH – The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced today that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state intend to pursue a joint approach to an enforceable resolution of violations associated with the Dan River spill and resolve Clean Water Act violations at other Duke Energy facilities.

“The state’s goal is to clean up both the Dan River and to protect public health and the environment at the other Duke Energy facilities around the state, and we are pleased to announce that the EPA will join us as we address these important issues,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “Participation by the EPA will bring additional resources to help us resolve a difficult problem that spans more than six decades.” The EPA has extensive experience with coal ash dating back to the 2008 coal ash spill in Kingston, Tenn.

DENR Secretary John Skvarla invited EPA participation and coordination in a March 14 letter to EPA Region 4 Administrator Heather McTeer Toney, who responded in a March 17 reply.

In the response, EPA expressed a desire to work collaboratively with DENR staff to craft appropriate environmental solutions to the problems at Duke Energy utilizing both agencies’ collective and individual regulatory authorities.

When responding to high-level environmental incidents in the states, EPA has many formal and informal options available under federal law. It is not unusual for EPA and delegated States to join together to pursue and effectively resolve complex and nationally significant enforcement matters. This approach signals a willingness to work as a team to continue the path that DENR has taken in response these issues.

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