- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina regulators say Duke Energy must create a formal plan for handling coal ash swept away from a power plant during Hurricane Matthew’s flooding.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s letter on Thursday informs Duke Energy it must submit a post-flooding plan for the H.F. Lee plant near Goldsboro. The plan must include more measurements of flooding damage and how much coal ash escaped.

The letter doesn’t specifically address cleanup, but DEQ spokesman Mike Rusher says the state is still evaluating whether enforcement actions are needed.

The letter comes as conservationists dispute regulators’ conclusion that minimal coal ash escaped last week. State inspectors say it would fit into the bed of a pickup truck, but conservation groups released photos that they say show evidence of a larger spill.

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