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UPDATE: Duke Energy wants to "close" some coal ash dumps

By Justin Ward, jward@wdbj7.com
Web Staff, WDBJ7, news@wdbj7.com
Published On: Feb 14 2014 06:02:38 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 14 2014 05:44:00 PM EST

A criminal investigation is now underway into the massive coal ash spill in the Dan River from a closed Duke Energy steam station.

DANVILLE, Va. -

UPDATE: The company responsible for the coal ash spill into the Dan River talked with North Carolina lawmakers Monday.

Duke Energy says it wants to close some coal ash dumps near waterways.

That's in an effort to prevent future spills like the one that contaminated the Dan River and threatened Danville's source of drinking water.

The company didn't clarify if workers would actually remove the ash or not.

Duke Energy also told lawmakers that it's testing ways to help clean the Dan River.

The federal government is investigating the spill.

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A criminal investigation is now underway into the massive coal ash spill in the Dan River from a closed Duke Energy steam station.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh, North Carolina issued a grand jury subpoena to the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

It asks for emails, memos, and reports between that department and Duke from 2010 to February second, the day of the spill. It doesn't name a specific crime or people who are targeted for prosecution.

An attorney with Waterkeeper Alliance, an environmental group, says this investigation is long overdue.

"There's a long history of a very cozy relationship between the state regulators and Duke Energy who they are supposed to regulate. There's plenty of ground for suspicion for some kind of criminal behavior going on with all of this," said Pete Harrison, a staff attorney for Waterkeeper Alliance.

Environmentalists say North Carolina's Governor Pat McCrory is too lax on Duke Energy. He worked for the company for 28 years.

The spill was the third largest of its kind in U.S. history.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is continuing to monitor the water. It's researching the effects on marine life including fish and turtles. If you see any wildlife that looks harmed or is dead the EPA wants you to report it on this website: http://www.epa.gov/region4/duke-energy/contact.html