by: Jim Bradley Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy has spent months in the national spotlight after a disastrous coal ash spill in February.
The company's CEO took her lumps Thursday from critics and protesters who attending Duke's annual shareholders meeting.
The crowd chanting outside the meeting wasn't as big as protesters predicted or police expected. Security was still tight, though, with dozens of police officers outside and metal detectors checking everyone who went inside.
One of them was Donna Lisenby, who told the crowd of environmentalists that Duke “must clean up their act."
She and others have criticized Duke's handling of the Feb. 2 spill that sent millions of tons of coal ash into the Dan River near the Virginia border.
Inside Lynn Good told shareholders "Dan River was an accident. We have taken responsibility and we will do the right thing."
But for more than an hour she faced sometime angry questions from shareholders, some of whom had also been protesting outside.
After Good insisted the river water is back to normal Deborah Ferruccio shouted back asking Good to agree to independent testing of water quality along the Dan.
Outside she continued her attack saying, "We don't believe it. We don't believe the water is safe. We don't believe that the river's as clean as it was. Which she said. It's absurd."
Duke Energy declined to make Good available to speak with reporters.
"Clearly it was a spirited meeting. A lot of passionate questions. A lot of strong viewpoints and we did our very best to answer the questions," said Duke spokesman Tom Williams.
Good took questions for about an hour and was poised throughout, often repeating the same talking points. She continues to say that Duke will reveal a long-term plan for dealing with coal ash across the state by the end of 2014.
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