The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced on Thursday that they had reached a settlement with Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) to resolve Clean Air Act violations at five coal-fired power plants across North Carolina, settling a long-standing claim that Duke violated the federal Clean Air Act by 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.
The government initially sued Duke in 2000 and was set to go to trial in October 2015. During that time, the EPA won a landmark 2007 Supreme Court decision upholding the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act covering modifications that increase the amount of pollution from an energy plant.
As part of the settlement, Duke will make the recent shut-down of 11 of the 13 units permanent. At the remaining two units, Duke must continuously operate pollution controls and meet interim emission limits before permanently retiring them. In addition, the settlement requires that Duke retire another unit at the Allen plant, spend a total of $4.4 million on environmental mitigation projects, and pay a civil penalty of $975,000.
The United States is joined in the settlement by co-plaintiffs Environmental Defense, the North Carolina Sierra Club, and Environment North Carolina.
Shares of Duke Energy last traded lower at $67.77, a new 52-week low for the stock.
Companies: Duke Energy Corporation
Price: 67.75 Price Change: -0.46 Percent Change: -0.68