By MICHAEL BIESECKER, Associated Press
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's top environmental official says he briefed Gov. Pat McCrory about a negotiated settlement with Duke Energy that would have fined the $50 billion corporation $99,000 to resolve violations for groundwater contamination leaching from two huge coal ash dumps.
State Department of Environment and Resources Secretary John Skvarla told lawmakers at an oversight hearing Tuesday that the Republican governor's only directions were to protect the environment and do the right thing.
The state agency has put its proposed deal with the nation's largest electricity provider on hold following the massive Feb. 2 spill of coal ash into the Dan River.
McCrory worked for Duke for 28 years before running for governor in 2008 and has benefited from more than $1.1 million in campaign donations linked to the company.
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