DEQ approves first three closure plans under historic coal ash settlement

RALEIGH

RALEIGH – After a thorough review and public participation process, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has approved the closure plans detailing the excavation of coal ash impoundments at three Duke Energy facilities – Cliffside/Rogers Energy Complex, Marshall Steam Station and Mayo Steam Station. DEQ has determined that the closure plans meet the requirements of the Coal Ash Management Act (CAMA) and are protective of public health and the environment.

Under the consent order signed in February of 2020, Duke Energy is required to excavate more than 80 million tons of coal ash from open, unlined impoundments at several locations, including Cliffside/Rogers, Marshall and Mayo, and place the excavated coal ash in onsite lined landfills.  The approved closure plans are consistent with the terms of the Consent Order. The Department held public hearings, provided the proposed closure plans for public comment, reviewed written public comments and analyzed site-specific information provided by Duke Energy and the public for each facility.

Under CAMA, Duke Energy was required to submit the proposed closure plans for 10 facilities by Dec. 31, 2019 for review and approval by DEQ staff.  Department staff are still reviewing the requested revisions to the closure plans for the Allen, Belews Creek and Roxboro facilities as well as the four beneficiation sites, Buck, Weatherspoon, Cape Fear and H.F. Lee. The Department will issue a determination within 120 days after the date on which each of those plans is deemed complete.

The full closure plan decisions, hearing officer reports and submitted comments for the Cliffside/Rogers, Marshall and Mayo facilities can be found online at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/key-issues/coal-ash-excavation.

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