Duke Energy’s (NYSE: DUK) coal ash spill on Feb. 2 has raised questions with the company’s shareholders.
Shareholders have accused the board of putting the company at risk to billions in liability by neglecting to clean up its coal ash ponds in North Carolina.
In a complaint filed by shareholders, company officials have known for years that its coal ash ponds were leaking chemicals into the ground and water resources, Bloomberg reported.
“The board was well aware of the company’s longstanding violations, yet failed to take any meaningful action to prevent further harm,” the shareholders said. “Instead, the board caused or allowed Duke Energy to operate without proper permits, continuously pollute the environment, and fail to properly inspect the company’s coal ash ponds.”
The lawsuit names Duke’s CEO Lynn Good, COO Keith Trent, and 14 current directors.
Duke Energy is already under an investigation over the handling of the company’s coal ash ponds.
In April, Duke said it could take up to $10 billion to clean up its 33 coal-ash ponds in North Carolina, spanning over three decades.
Shareholders want Duke to comply with federal and state regulations over coal ash disposal, and compliance with a March 6 state court order to eliminate sources of contamination at 14 coal-fired power plants in the state.
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