The fine comes from Duke’s role in a broken storm water pipe under a coal ash pond that sent almost 40,000 tons of waste into the Dan River. Negotiations have been ongoing since February.
In a statement, Duke Energy said the company has been in discussion with the state, but could not discuss specifics.
“The legal process encourages parties to try to resolve issues through negotiation and we’re working through that process now,” the statement said.
Dan Crawford, director of governmental relations for the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, said as a multi-billion dollar company, a $6.6 million fine is too easily paid.
“Fines need to be proportionate to the company,” he said. “If they want to complain about the fine then they need to stop doing the thing that broke the rules and caused the fine.”
Frank Holleman, an attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, said he would have expected more as well.
“Duke paid a $102 million penalty, therefore giving the nature of the violation, and what they’ve paid already, (we’d expect) the state would impose and Duke would pay a substantial penalty under N.C. law as well,” he said.
Crawford said the small fine points to the undue amount of influence Duke Energy has on the state.