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Judge rejects Duke's call to stay ruling

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A judge is rejecting Duke Energy's attempt to stop a ruling that would force the company to take immediate action to clean up its coal ash dumps.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway ruled two weeks ago that regulators are failing to properly apply state law to address groundwater pollution at the toxic ash pits - and the company must take immediate action to correct the problem.

But Duke asked Ridgeway to stay the ruling until the company could appeal.

Duke officials did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment Thursday.

Attorneys for the Southern Environmental Law Center who filed the case praised the decision.

North Carolina has 14 coal-fired plants and 33 ash dumps spread across the state - all stored in unlined, leaky pits near public waterways.

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