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Judge postpones hearing in coal ash lawsuit

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CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) -- A federal judge is postponing a hearing on a lawsuit filed by an environmental group claiming Duke Energy violated the Clean Water Act by allowing its coal ash pits to pollute a major Charlotte waterway.

Judge Max Cogburn was supposed to decide Wednesday whether a lawsuit filed the Southern Environmental Law Center could move forward. But the judge agreed to give Duke time to file a new motion.

The lawsuit says Duke's ash pits are polluting the Catawba River, the main source of Charlotte's drinking water.

But Duke says the lawsuit should be dismissed because state regulators are taking enforcement action against the company.

A coal ash spill from one of Duke's plants last month coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic gray sludge.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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