How can you be objective when your own culpability may be an issue?
And perhaps spending 17 years working for a major polluter colors one's perspective on what worrisome levels of pollution are. After all, in 2002, the last full year Hager served as Cliffside's engineering manager, the plant reported releasing more than 12,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into surface waters -- including 2,100 pounds of arsenic, 200 pounds of chromium and 250 pounds of lead, all known to cause cancer. It also reported releasing almost 2.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals directly into the air.
In total, from the time EPA began requiring electric utilities to report their toxics releases in 1998 through Hager's last full year with Duke Energy, the Cliffside plant reported releasing more than 96,000 pounds of toxic chemicals to surface water and another 18 million pounds to the air.
Hager needs to recuse himself from any reviews of coal-fired power plants and their associated coal ash impoundment ponds, and the General Assembly should seriously consider removing him from the Commission. Aside from the monetary influence of Duke Energy's campaign dollars, he's not psychologically fit to evaluate the quality of his own work (or his colleagues') as an engineer for Duke Energy. Nobody with the same history would be.