APNewsBreak: US investigates NC environment agency


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into North Carolina's environmental agency following a massive coal ash spill on the Dan River.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh issued a grand jury subpoena demanding records from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. They include emails, memos and reports from 2010 through the Feb. 2 spill.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the subpoena on Thursday.

The spill at a Duke Energy plant in Eden spewed enough toxic sludge into the river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools. It was the third-largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.

Prosecutors ordered the state environmental agency's chief lawyer to appear next month before a grand jury. Agency spokesman Drew Elliot says the state will cooperate with the federal investigators.

Duke Energy also received a subpoena, spokesman Thomas Williams. But he declined to elaborate, saying the company doesn't comment on pending litigation.

"Duke Energy will cooperate with any state or federal agency that might undertake an investigation of the Dan River ash release," he said.