Neighbors dealing with coal ash file lawsuit against Duke Energy

CHARLOTTE, NC. (WSOC) — People living near coal ash ponds recently filed a class action lawsuit against Duke Energy.

The class action lawsuit claims negligence and unfair and deceptive trade practices by Duke.

The suit asks for damages for neighbors within a half mile of coal ash ponds.

The families have been offered tens of thousands of dollars by Duke to help them transition to city water but there’s a catch: By accepting the money, the neighbors would have had to sign away their right to sue Duke in the future for any coal ash issues that may arise.

This suit asks for the money Duke offered without the requirement of signing that waiver.

“Duke has been very deceptive and we need answers, we need for things to be cleared up,” plaintiff Amy Brown said.

Duke Energy sent Channel 9 the following statement:

“This is obviously another effort by trial lawyers to make money for themselves when the company is already doing more than anyone to care for our plant neighbors. Specifically, the company is voluntarily offering a financial package to plant neighbors that is above and beyond what the law requires, which they can choose to accept or decline. If they accept the package, it is customary to sign a waiver, closing out the issue once and for all. Remember, neighbors are welcome to accept the package or not. It is up to them and them alone. Regardless of whether they accept the voluntary package, neighbors will still receive the permanent new water supply.

In addition to a voluntary financial package, other actions the company has taken to bring this issue to a close for plant neighbors include:

  • We voluntarily offered bottled water when others caused needless worry and concern.
  • We supported a new law to provide neighbors with a permanent new water supply even though a strong body of evidence demonstrates that ash basins are NOT impacting their wells.

We did all of this to provide our neighbors with peace of mind and also to preserve the full range of science-based closure options to safely protect the environment and to benefit all customers.”

Those same neighbors also filed a petition to intervene in Duke’s request to raise utility rates to help pay for coal ash cleanup.

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