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Environmental Groups Plan To Protest Coal-Ash Deal

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(Photo by Davis Turner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Davis Turner/Getty Images)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Environmental groups are organizing opposition to North Carolina’s proposed settlement with Duke Energy over coal ash pond contamination.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the opponents say the agreement would allow the utility to delay the cleanup.

State regulators have taken nearly 5,000 comments during a now-closed public comment period. Sentiment has been overwhelmingly against the settlement proposal, which critics say only calls for more study of areas known to have contamination.

Environmental advocates who joined the lawsuit said the comments support their contention that the consent decree should be scrapped and a serious cleanup effort mounted immediately. That would include work at two coal ash ponds at Lake Julian in Asheville.

Duke spokeswoman Erin Culbert said the state shouldn’t be swayed by the negative comments.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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