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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Some environmental groups have filed last-minute challenges to the proposed merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that groups making Thursday’s deadline say the merger would be a bad deal for customers and the environment. The complaints were filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which opens hearings on the merger Sept. 20.

Charlotte-based Duke and Raleigh-based Progress want to merge, creating the nation’s largest utility.

Groups including the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund say the merger would create a company that would dominate the state and crowd out competition from clean energy producers.

Progress spokesman Mike Hughes says the company has followed state policy to provide reliable service at the lowest possible cost.

The merger also faces federal review.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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