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Coal ash is the waste that remains when coal is burned. It is usually collected in a dump, known as a pond. North Carolina has more than 30 such sites in 14 different locations across the state. A pipe running under one of the ponds run by Duke Energy in Eden NC ruptured in February of 2014. The coal ash spilled, largely affecting the Dan River which flows into Virginia. The spill is the third largest of its kind in U.S. history.Many see potential complications because North Carolina's governor, Pat McCrory, worked for Duke Energy for 28 years.

McCrory: 'We Haven't Broken Any Rules'

Gov. Pat McCrory

Governor Pat McCrory is responding to charges that he misstated when he sold his stock in Duke Energy. McCrory worked for the company for almost 30 years. 

Speaking to reporters after an education conference held by the North Carolina Chamber, the Governor faced a series of questions about when he sold the Duke stock that was part of his 401k.

"We haven’t broken any rules or ethics violations or anything," McCrory said. "And I was very transparent that I did own it. I was 29 years, and I’m proud of that experience and I had a 401k retirement account, like many of you may have had, or still have.”

He seemed at times puzzled and irritated that this had become a media story.

"There were so many media reports of me being requested to sell the energy stock to clear any possible conflicts of interest," McCrory said. "I actually did it, and I informed the public that I did it. And now, of all things, I’m being criticized for doing what the public asked me to do and what the media knew back in April."

According to state ethics forms he signed, McCrory initially reported that he sold more than $10,000 in Duke stock before the end of 2013.

He now says, due to an error made by his attorney, that he actually sold the stock between February and April of this year.

McCrory sold the stock following a Duke Energy coal ash spill in Eden in February. A bill to force Duke to clean up coal ash ponds stalled in the Legislature.

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Supervising Editor for Politics and Education. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.
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