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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Environmental and wildlife officials in North Carolina and Virginia have signed an agreement with Duke Energy for the cleanup of toxic coal ash from the Dan River, which flows through the two states.

The agreement signed Monday requires Duke to pay any cost associated with the Feb. 2 spill at its power plant near Eden, which coated 70 miles of the river in gray sludge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also a party to the deal.

Duke has already begun the task of vacuuming up large pockets of toxic ash that settled to the bottom of the river as far downstream as Danville, Va. The nation's largest electricity company must also pay for the ongoing monitoring by government agencies of the spill's impact on aquatic life.

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