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Duke Energy spends tiny percentage of revenue on coal ash cleanup

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coal ash spillDuke Energy, the company responsible for a massive coal ash spill in North Carolina in January, raked in billions in revenue in the first quarter of 2014 but failed to spend more than a tiny fraction of its earnings on cleaning up its spill, according to its quarterly report released Wednesday.

The company, the largest electrical utility in the United States, has also seen what one Duke stock owner called a “shareholder revolt” over a reluctance to provide more detailed disclosure of its political contributions. Duke denies there’s a mutiny, saying that management’s preference for less disclosure is supported by a majority of shareholders.

Duke Energy, valued at about $51 billion, said it spent just $15 million cleaning up the results of the coal ash leak, a figure dwarfed by its $6.62 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2014.

“What’s clear is that they spent very little money so far and they have not done a lot to clean up,” Frank Holleman, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, told Al Jazeera. The center is leading a lawsuit against Duke over the coal ash spill.

“I think overall what we’ve seen in this report is a very rich organization,” Holleman said. “There’s absolutely no question that they can afford to do the right thing on coal ash.”


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