Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good. Image courtesy of Duke Energy/Youtube.

Duke Energy said Wednesday that it expects to settle a federal criminal probe into a 2014 North Carolina coal ash spill for $100 million.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Raleigh has been investigating a 2014 spill at Duke’s Eden plant that sent an estimated 39,000 tons of ash and toxic materials into a 70 mile stretch of the Dan River.

Duke said that a proposed settlement may be filed in court within a few days where it will go to a federal judge for approval.

“We believe we are close to an agreement,” Duke CEO Lynn Good said.

The U.S. attorney’s office has not commented on the matter.

A federal grand jury in North Carolina has been looking into the company’s handling of several coal ash spills in the state including the Dan River incident.

A settlement with the U.S. attorney’s office would not resolve North Carolina’s ongoing civil case against the company.

Investigators have subpoenaed a number of records from Duke that may suggest a deeper probe into the company’s relationship with state regulators, the AP said.

Duke inked agreements with the Environmental Protection Agency and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources to cover the emergency response, cleanup and environmental monitoring costs tied to the Dan River spill.

North Carolina regulators said they are not involved with Duke’s federal settlement negotiations.

“We also continue to investigate violations of state groundwater standards and to maintain our enforcement partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for civil violations of the Clean Water Act,” North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources told the LA Times.

A 2014  law passed in North Carolina requires Duke to cleanup or permanently stop all of its coal ash dumps in the state by 2029.


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