Protesters rally outside Duke's uptown headquarters

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CHARLOTTE - Environmental groups are criticizing North Carolina lawmakers for their coal ash bill.

On Thursday morning, fewer than a dozen protesters rallied outside Duke Energy’s headquarters in uptown Charlotte.

They feel the bill protects the company, not the general public, and allows Duke the opportunity to raise rates for the estimated $10 billion cleanup cost.

“The measure allows Duke to pass cleanup costs to Duke Energy customers, who have already paid for it with their health and their pocketbook,” said Hanna Mitchell with Greenpeace.

Protesters are also upset with the bill, which they say still leaves water sources at risk of contamination.

Duke CEO Lynn Good released a statement about the bill passing, saying it “Gives Duke Energy direction to move forward with a stronger standard for the management of coal ash at our facilities.”