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US investigates NC environment agency

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MICHAEL BIESECKER
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into North Carolina's environmental agency following a massive coal ash spill on the Dan River.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh issued a grand jury subpoena demanding records from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. They include emails, memos and reports from 2010 through the Feb. 2 spill.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the subpoena on Thursday.

The spill at a Duke Energy plant in Eden spewed enough toxic sludge into the river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools. It was the third-largest coal ash spill in US history.

Prosecutors ordered the state environmental agency's chief lawyer to appear next month before a grand jury. Agency spokesman Drew Elliot says the state will cooperate with the federal investigators.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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