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Environmental groups press NC to stop pollution

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Environmentalists say they're heading to court to protect North Carolina's groundwater from toxic coal ash waste.

The Southern Environmental Law Center's lawsuit says the state isn't doing enough to protect communities from coal ash generated at 14 coal-fired power plants.

The lawsuit says North Carolina is failing to follow its own law by stopping industrial polluters from contaminating groundwater and cleaning up outdated, unlined coal ash ponds.

The ash, leftover from the coal-burning process, contains dangerous substances, including arsenic.

The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the complaint Tuesday in Wake County Superior Court on behalf of several groups, including the Sierra Club.

If successful, the lawsuit would require cleanup of groundwater contamination around the outdated ponds.

A telephone message left for the N.C. Environmental Management Commission wasn't immediately returned.