By EMERY P. DALESIO
AP Business Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Duke Energy Corp. will pay a $156,000 penalty for polluting ground and surface waters with potentially toxic coal-ash waste around three power plants.
One critic says it's comparable to a couple days' salary for the company's CEO.
The Sierra Club's David Rogers said Friday the penalty is less than a slap on the wrist for the country's No. 2 electricity company, which generated $23 billion in revenue last year.
A spokeswoman for the state environmental agency would not explain whether officials were restricted from imposing a larger penalty, but said the amount was much larger than is typical. Duke Energy had agreed to pay $84,000 in January.
Duke Energy spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said the deal paves the way for the permitting needed for work toward closing the sites.
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