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Duke Energy apologizes for massive spill of toxic coal ash into NC river, pledges cleanup


RALEIGH, N.C. - A top executive at Duke Energy has apologized for the company's massive coal ash spill in North Carolina and pledged to clean up its toxic waste from the Dan River.

Duke Energy president for North Carolina operations Paul Newton made the apology Friday as he visited with residents in the affected towns of Eden, N.C., and Danville, Va. The company says it is developing a long-term clean-up plan for the river.

Duke says it is now diverting the flow of coal ash from reaching the Dan but cannot yet declare the spill fully contained.

The nation's largest electricity provider says up to 82,000 tons of coal ash, mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water, have escaped since a drainage pipe collapsed Sunday, turning the river grey for miles.