- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2016

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A federal judge is approving two Duke Energy plans describing how the country’s largest electricity company says it will comply with environmental laws.

The statewide and nationwide environmental compliance plans were approved last week by U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard. They were required under Duke Energy’s $102 million settlement of criminal charges last year following its 2014 spill of coal ash into the Dan River.

The state plan includes annual audits of Duke Energy’s North Carolina power plants with coal ash pits and record-keeping of how much ash those pits contain.

Duke Energy pleaded guilty in May to nine criminal violations of the federal Clean Water Act for its illegal pollution. The company was sentenced to five years’ probation and is being monitored for compliance with the federal law.

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