RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A state toxicologist says North Carolina’s top public health official acted unethically and possibly illegally by telling residents living near Duke Energy coal ash pits that their well water is safe to drink when it’s contaminated with a chemical known to cause cancer.
The Associated Press obtained a full copy of a sworn 220-page deposition given last month by toxicologist Ken Rudo as part of a lawsuit. The nation’s largest electricity company has asked a federal judge to seal the document, claiming its public disclosure would potentially prejudice jurors.
Rudo’s boss, state public health director Dr. Randall Williams, in March reversed earlier warnings telling the affected residents not to drink their water. The water is contaminated with cancer-causing hexavalent chromium at levels many times higher than Rudo had determined is safe.