Duke Energy will contribute $1 million to protect the lower Cape Fear River, Sutton Lake near Wilmington and wetlands, the company said in resolving a federal lawsuit by environmental advocates.
Duke will match up to $250,000 contributed by other sources to the newly created Cape Fear River Restoration and Preservation Fund.
A state Superior Court judge ordered Duke earlier this year to excavate coal ash from its retired Sutton power plant near Wilmington, but left open advocates’ claims in federal court that Sutton Lake had been contaminated by ash. The lake provided cooling water to the power plant.
With resolution of the Sutton lawsuit, advocates have settled litigation dealing with eight of Duke’s 14 coal-fired power plants in North Carolina. The Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents advocates, said unresolved cases involve Duke’s Mayor, Roxboro, Belews Creek, Cliffside, Marshall and Allen plants.