Duke gets delay in sentencing for coal ash crimes, says bases could lose power without waiver

Duke Energy has received a delay in pleading guilty to environmental crimes by raising the specter that bureaucratic red tape could result in power being cut to military bases across North Carolina.

U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard on Tuesday approved a one-month delay in Duke's sentencing hearing, which had been set for later this week. Duke has agreed to admit guilt on nine misdemeanor counts and pay $102 million over years of illegal pollution leaking from coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants.

Duke's lawyers said Tuesday the company needs a waiver from rules that bar corporations convicted of crimes from receiving or renewing federal contracts. Without the waiver, Duke said electrical service might be disrupted to Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, post offices, federal courthouses, prisons and other facilities.