---- — RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's top environmental official says he briefed Gov. Pat McCrory about filing a lawsuit against Duke Energy that resulted in a proposed settlement fining the $50 billion corporation $99,000 to resolve violations for pollution leaching from two huge coal ash dumps.
State Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla told lawmakers at an oversight hearing Monday that the Republican governor's only directions were to protect the environment and do the right thing.
The state agency put its deal with Duke on hold following a massive Feb. 2 spill into the Dan River.
McCrory worked for Duke for 28 years before running for governor in 2008. Environmentalists criticized the proposed settlement with modest fines as a sweetheart deal to the nation's largest electricity provider.