RALEIGH, NC (AP) – A federal judge is blasting North Carolina’s environmental watchdog agency, saying officials didn’t try very hard to force Duke Energy to clean up toxic groundwater pollution near a coal-burning power plant where neighbors can’t drink their well water.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs’s comments come in a decision rejecting bids by the country’s largest electricity company to dismiss or postpone action in litigation brought by environmental groups.
The judge expressed doubt in her decision late Tuesday that the state Department of Environmental Quality has been diligent in enforcing federal clean water laws over coal ash leaking from Duke Energy storage pits around the Buck power plant near Salisbury. Biggs says it looks as if DEQ is taking legal steps that delay the cleanup lawsuit.
A DEQ spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment.
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