Duke Energy, U.S. Gov't end 15-year-old Clean Air Act litigation

Duke Energy, U.S. Gov't end 15-year-old Clean Air Act litigation

The Belews Creek Steam station, a two-unit coal-fired generating facility in North Carolina, is Duke Energy’s largest coal-burning power plant in the area. (Image courtesy of Duke Energy)

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK), the U.S. largest electrical utility, has reached a settlement with the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over Clean Air Act violations at five of its coal-fired power plants across North Carolina.

According to a statement from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the settlement puts an end to a 15-year-old legal case against the company for alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act at some of its coal-fired power plants in North Carolina.

The EPA has been after the company for “unlawfully modifying 13 coal-fired electricity generating units located at the Allen, Buck, Cliffside, Dan River, and Riverbend plants, without obtaining air permits and installing and operating the required air pollution control technologies,” according to the statement.

The company reiterated Thursday it has done nothing wrong, adding it believes to have complied fully with federal law. It added it was agreeing to settle the case solely to avoid the costs and uncertainties of continued litigation.

Earlier this year, the company agreed to pay $102 million in fines and restitution for polluting four major rivers with coal ash in its home state of North Carolina.The U.S. initially sued Duke in 2000, and trial was set to begin in October 2015 following years of pre-trial litigation.