Feds expand probe of coal-ash spill
RALEIGH — Federal prosecutors widened their investigation triggered by a coal-ash spill in North Carolina.
They have demanded reams of documents and ordered nearly 20 state environmental agency employees to testify before a grand jury.
The subpoenas were made public on Wednesday by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources. They ordered state officials to hand over any records pertaining to investments, cash or other items of value they might have received from Duke Energy or its employees.
Charlotte-based Duke confirmed it was served with a new subpoena, the second received by the nation's largest electricity provider. Company spokesman Tom Williams declined to comment.
On Feb. 2, a pipe running under a coal-ash pond collapsed at Duke's Dan River Steam Station in Eden — coating the bottom of the Dan River with toxic ash up to 70 miles downstream. The river is near the border with Virginia.
Meanwhile, state officials said Duke successfully contained “about 90 percent” of the flow from a second pipe at the dump that spewed arsenic-laced groundwater into the river.
Public health officials have advised residents not to touch the river water or eat the fish.
State environmental Secretary John Skvarla declined to comment when asked at a media briefing whether he had been served with a subpoena.
Skvarla was appointed last year by Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who worked for Duke Energy for more than 28 years. Josh Ellis, the governor's spokesman, confirmed that McCrory was not subpoenaed.
Among those ordered to appear before the grand jury next month is Tom Reeder, the Division of Water Quality director who oversees the state's enforcement of environmental violations at Duke's 31 coal-ash dumps at 14 coal-fired power plants spread across North Carolina.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Oregon college gunman’s victims walked varied paths
- Survivor: Oregon college gunman spared 1 to give police a message
- As GOP prepares to elect new House leadership, no end to infighting in sight
- Another round of divisive cases awaits Supreme Court
- California vineyards skip irrigation amid drought
- Apartment blast kills 1 in Brooklyn
- Double whammy for dinosaurs: Death from above, below
- Football game in St. Louis halted by gunshots
- Navy intelligence official indicted on charges of theft, conspiracy
- Closure of ID offices in Alabama riles Democrats
- Ohio’s interpretation of Common Core test results threatens national comparison goals