Duke Energy — the entity responsible for a coal ash release into North Carolina’s Dan River in early February — signed an agreement on June 9 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The goal of the agreement is to address natural resource damages related to the spill through a cooperative process rather than a litigious one.

By working cooperatively with Duke Energy on the Dan River Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration, the groups hope to expedite restoration efficiently and effectively. The groups will focus on restoration early in the process while also integrating natural resource injury assessments with ongoing remedial assessment and cleanup work. The groups will develop a proposed restoration plan that will be made available to the public for review and comment. Read more in this two-page factsheet.

Duke Energy also signed a separate agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under which the company will pay the costs of evaluation and cleanup. According to Duke Energy, these costs already exceed $15 million.