North Carolina's Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has taken enforcement action against five power plants owned and operated by energy company Duke Energy following violations of water pollution laws, the New York Times has reported, quoting officials from the state agency.
The move comes shortly after another plant owned by Duke Energy was cited for Clean Water Act violations after dumping 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River in February. The citations accuse Duke of failing to obtain storm-water permits required under federal law. If the company is found guilty it could face a fine of $25,000 per day for each of the six plants.
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According to the New York Times, Duke Energy has been urged to ensure its plants are in compliance with federal laws for years but the company has done little to meet the state and federal requirements regarding pollution.
Following the Dan River spill, the state's DENR inspected 14 power plants that the company runs in North Carolina and discovered that six of them had no storm water permits at all. Besides the Dan River Steam Station in Eden, Rockingham County, they are: the Belews Creek Steam Station in Rockingham County; Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford County; Lee Steam Electric Plant in Wayne County; Roxboro Steam Electric Power Plant in Person County; and Sutton Steam Electric Plant in New Hanover County.