Attorneys demand details about Duke's compensation plan for properties near coal ash pits

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      Duke Energy says it is negotiating compensation to property owners near coal ash pits who face declining property values or will need municipal water. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

      Attorneys claiming to represent hundreds of people who live near Duke Energy's coal ash ponds say more information is needed about the company's plans to compensate property owners.

      On Wednesday, Duke Energy announced it was negotiating compensation for homeowners facing declining property values, or those who will have to pay to switch to municipal water.

      A joint release from Mona Lisa Wallace and Bill Graham of Wallace & Graham, The Law Offices of Bryan Brice, Jr., and the Baron & Budd law firm states in part:

      For the past two years, our clients have dealt with the daily aggravation, nuisance and annoyance of not being able to use their tap water with peace of mind. Many have had to rely on bottled water for cooking and other household purposes. They continue to suffer from lost property value, concerns over long-term health effects, and at many sites, the ongoing presence of the coal ash. Duke Energy’s December 7th press release, promising an unspecified financial “supplement” and other measures, does not provide adequate assurances to remedy these ongoing serious problems.

      A spokeswoman for Duke Energy says the company is still working out how much to offer those who are affected, and stated those people can choose to accept or reject the offered compensation.

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      Duke Energy is facing multiple lawsuits by people living near the company's 14 coal-burning power plants in North Carolina.

      Last year, hundreds of people received a warning from the state to not drink their well water, due to contamination levels. But early this spring, state health officials withdrew those warnings. They said the previous contamination level guidelines were too low.

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      Duke Energy says it will finalize the details of the compensation in the coming weeks.