Gov. Pat McCrory has issued an executive order directing North Carolina's environmental agency to enforce all applicable laws to try to force Duke Energy to clean up its coal ash dumps.
McCrory signed the order Friday, hours after the state Senate adjourned without approving a proposed plan requiring the company to dig up or cap its 33 ash dumps. State officials say all of the unlined pits are contaminating groundwater. Coal ash contains such toxic chemicals as arsenic and lead.
The order directs state regulators to test residential drinking wells near the dumps and to halt any violations of the law.
State and federal laws already require the enforcement of water quality standards.
Duke Energy President and CEO Lynn Good says the utility will work with regulators and lawmakers.