My research brief today about the coal-ash settlement agreement asks a key question about it, given the different parties’ positions on the scope of cleanup needed, necessary cleanup methods, and who should pay. This paragraph is the heart of the piece:

Against that backdrop, consider the settlement agreement of Dec. 31, 2019. The settlement agreement resulted in lots more costly excavation than Duke thought was necessary, but not full excavation, which DEQ and the community groups thought was the only way to protect public health. It would have excavated and removed 70 percent of the coal ash identified at those six facilities, leaving 33.8 million tons of coal ash in the ground out of 113.5 million tons. So why did they all agree to it?

For more, read the research brief, “Coal-ash settlement: Why did they all agree to it?