Duke Energy

Coal Ash Wednesday: $10 billion in bad management from Duke Energy

And they'll be reaching into your wallet to fix their mistakes:

The largest U.S. utility owner told a North Carolina legislative commission that if it were required to excavate and relocate all its ash in the state and convert to an all-dry handling system, costs would reach $7 billion to $10 billion and take as long as three decades.

“The costs of cleaning up the waste from fuel from coal should be a ratepayer cost and not a shareholder cost,” said Kit Konolige, an analyst with BGC Partners LP in New York. “The traditional regulatory compact, the cost of fuel and cost of cleanup of fuel, should be passed through ratepayers. It really shouldn’t come out of shareholders pockets except to the extent that the company has done something wrong.”

The company has done something wrong, or the toxic mess wouldn't be leaking out of every coal ash pond in the state. Regardless of the Federal/State laws governing coal ash disposal, both the ratepayers and the shareholders have a certain expectation that Duke will stay on top of the science and take steps to avoid contaminating the ground and surface waters. That expectation was not remotely met, so the cost of cleanup needs to be borne by those who directly profited from Duke Energy's mismanagement, the owners. They "shared" in the profits, now they need to "share" in the cleanup.

McCrory gets most campaign money of any sitting governor from Duke Energy

The News and Observer highlights a new report out from the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

From 2000-2012, McCrory got $16,000 from Duke Energy's political action committee and $82,000 from it's executives - a total of $98,000. The next closest on the list, Indiana's Mike Pence, received $13,000. Duke Energy gave a total of $128,000 to just six sitting governors. (Sam Brownback in Kansas only received $500.)

The full report is here.

Now, what would really be interesting is to look at the number of former Duke employees working in different state governments. How do you think the McCrory administration compares on that count?

Duke Energy coal ash? You're soaking in it, Pat.

The Coal Ash Governor

For those who had requested it, it turns out that BackwardNC has located an interesting parody song that describes Deputy Assistant Guvnor Pat's "rise" to the undisputed title of "Coal Ash Governor", equivalently known as "The King of Coal Ash".

Pat is a very clueless person. But we knew that when we didn't vote for him. We sympathize with the ones whom Pat fooled.

Raleigh highlighted as a “Shining City” when it comes to solar power

Raleigh, NC –Raleigh is one of dozens of communities leading the nation’s surge in solar power, ranking 15th in the country for solar projects installed per capita, according to a new Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center study released today. The analysis, titled “Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution,” is the first-of-its-kind comparative look at the growth of solar power in major American cities.

“Raleigh is one of America’s shining cities when it comes to solar power,” said Dave Rogers, field director with Environment North Carolina, “and it has the potential to shine even brighter.”

City Councilor Russ Stephenson, public health advocates, and area small businesses, joined Environment North Carolina to release the study at the NC State solar farm, which was built with the help of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Brownfields to Brightfields” program.

Duke Energy shareholders calling for directors' heads on a platter

Two major Duke Energy shareholders are urging other investors to vote out the directors in charge of the company's environmental, safety, and health compliance.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the New York City Pension Funds wrote fellow shareholders Monday. They asked that shareholders not re-elect four members of the Duke board’s regulatory policy and operations committee at the May 1 annual meeting.

:::snip:::

The letter cites the Feb. 2 ash spill into the Dan River, saying Duke had “forewarning of the public risk” from environmental groups that had intended to sue Duke over ash contamination.

More on the Cambistat tree treatment controversy

Greensboro's Billy Jones was also dosed, in an effort to limit the growth of questions:

"You also made a lot of other claims in your article/ blog please provide sources for those. We are concerned that you are being paid by someone who prunes trees and does not want this technology introduced as it will hurt their business. Much of what you say is not true in your blog.

Please disclose this if this is true.

You are far too articulate to have made so many errors in factual data in your blog. Plus it mimiced another blog that was written in blue DNC."

Apparently there's a conspiracy of tree-pruners out there waging a campaign against the poor chemical companies. ;) Just a little primer for Mr. Prosser on the phenomena of 21st Century blogging, and especially the hyper-local flavor of such: we in the blogging community learned a long time ago that calling attention to something before it happens can sometimes stop it from happening. If it doesn't stop it, it does often result in answers to questions a lot of citizens may have. And pointing a bulldog like Billy Jones to further information on the subject (thanks for that, by the way, my diary had fallen off the radar), is a sure-fire way to keep him interested. A few words from Billy:

Duke Energy backs off on chemical treatment of trees

And of course, the fault lies with ratepayers:

"We're pausing the program because of the feedback, I do hate that there is so much misinformation out there about this program. We never intended to force this application on to any property owner," said Paige Layne, with Duke Energy. She says the company should have done more than leave door hangers announcing the plan, but she says the chemical is not dangerous.

"The product has been widely tested by the EPA has approved its use as has the state of North Carolina," she said Duke's initial plan was to let property owners with objections opt out of having their trees treated. Some residents in Greensboro were upset with Duke after what they felt was overly intensive trimming in December of 2012.

There very well may have been "misinformation out there" concerning this process, but that most often happens when there's not enough information provided in the first place. Considering the multiple water contamination problems associated with coal ash and the injudicious tree-cutting Duke has been responsible for in the past, it's no wonder citizens would be concerned.

Which side are you on, Roy?

From NC Policy Watch:

Plagued by infighting and litigation delay tactics, North Carolina’s coal ash crisis has grown into more than just an environmental disaster. It’s now a political and legal nightmare, the bill for which the state and its residents will be paying for many years to come.

The latest example came late Monday, when Attorney General Roy Cooper filed a notice of appeal of a court ruling that would require Duke Energy to immediately eliminate the source of groundwater contamination at its coal ash pits — in advance of any clean-up plans it might later adopt.

Dammit Roy, whose side are you on anyway?

NC to appeal court order requiring immediate coal-ash clean up

It just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.

"Just a week after the state publicly abandoned its sweetheart deal with Duke and promised to "enforce" the law, it has appealed a judicial ruling that confirmed the state's legal authority to enforce a real solution for coal ash contamination," Gerkin [of the Southern Environmental Law Center] said in a statement. "We’re disappointed that this administration remains so determined to delay through litigation rather than move forward to stop ongoing pollution of North Carolina's rivers, lakes and groundwater."

Here's the translation:

On the front lines in the war to protect NC's water quality

The Waterkeeper Alliance on the move:

Peter Harrison has an enviable life: He spends a lot of time in a boat, exploring the waterways of North Carolina. Peter Harrison also has an interesting life: Other boats sometimes follow his, with huge cameras pointed in his direction, shutters clicking away.

“It’s just intimidation,” Harrison says. The people with cameras tend to be security guards for Duke Energy, the state’s largest electricity provider, and a company that Harrison spends a lot of time investigating.

If Duke Energy spent half the time watching their potential sources of pollution as they do watching the watchers, the need for people like Peter wouldn't be as critical. Then again, if you're really not concerned about what damage you do to the environment accidentally, or if you do so intentionally to help you manage the volume of your wastes, stopping people like Peter becomes the top priority:

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