Judge gives Duke Energy more time to respond to filings

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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CHARLOTTE —

A federal judge decided Wednesday to give Duke Energy more time to respond to several filings in a major lawsuit against the company.

This summer the Catawba Riverkeeper filed the lawsuit claiming coal ash is polluting water in Mountain Island Lake and asking the company to clean it up.

"Clean up the contamination and store the ash in a safe, lined facility where it will not leak into drinking water and there will not be a risk that it will break as on the Dan River,” said Frank Holleman, senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. He is representing the Catawba Riverkeeper in the federal lawsuit. 

Last week he submitted two new filings in the case. He said one brought attention to the recent coal ash spill at Duke's Dan River Steam Station and the federal grand jury that is now investigating it. 

"The second thing we were bringing is that now even DENR agrees with us on how the Clean Water Act would apply to one aspect of this federal suit," he said.

Attorneys for Duke Energy protested the filings and asked for more time to respond.  Wednesday a judge granted the company more time.

Attorneys for Duke wouldn't comment after the meeting. 

Holleman wasn't opposed to the decision.

"I think the judge made a reasonable decision to give enough time so that he would have all the legal issues before him and be in a position to make the best ruling," he said.

Eyewitness News contacted Duke's media line for a comment, but a spokeswoman wouldn't comment on the hearing. She said she wanted to inform the public that Mountain Island Lake water is safe.