• Reply to: Coal Ash Wednesday: The legal battle over cleanup costs begins   3 hours 41 min ago

    Don't know if this is good or bad:

    Duke Energy is threatening to sue 30 insurance companies over allegations that they are refusing to cover the utility’s claims to clean up its coal ash sites. The notice of complaint for breach of contract was filed in state Superior Court today; the venue is Mecklenburg County, where Duke Energy Carolinas is headquartered.

    The utility has said the cost of the cleanups so far is at least $725 million. Some of that cost could be passed along to Duke Energy customers when the utility requests a rate increase within the next year. The price tag for the ongoing cleanup could reach $4.5 billion.

    The utility says its policies with the insurance companies, some of them internationally based, are supposed to cover its liabilities related to the coal ash cleanup. All premiums have been paid, Duke writes in the filing, and is “entitled to full benefits and protections of the policies.”

    My first reaction was, "That's just great, even more for us to end up paying for." But if the insurance companies can successfully defend their refusal to pay Duke Energy in court, it might actually help protect the ratepayers from unfair charges. Or not. But it is an interesting twist.

  • Reply to: Coal Ash Wednesday: The legal battle over cleanup costs begins   4 hours 48 sec ago

    Sorry this is so late being posted, I know a lot of folks set aside specific times during the day to catch up on newsy-type stuff, so the earlier the better. But copy-n-paste from PDF files can be a royal pain in the ass. At least for me, anyway. The words end up being strung out down the page, and you have to round 'em back up by deleting spaces between.

    You know, after typing that, I realize it's a pretty sad little whine. It's not like I had to get up off my ass and chase the words down...

  • Reply to: Preview for RAFI-USA's film "Under Contract"   6 hours 26 min ago

    This film accurately describes issues poultry farmers face. Huge loans are required to build poultry houses; then the farmers are at the mercy of the poultry corporation. If they complain about poor feed, wormy or sick birds, etc, depending on their contract they can be cut off and may lose everything they have, including their home and any other collateral they used to secure the loan. The rosy picture the farmer had before making the loan can turn into a nightmare. They suffer in silence for fear of being cut off and losing everything.

  • Reply to: Tuesday Twitter roundup   23 hours 42 min ago

    On the off-chance that somebody from the Onion has been reading our little weekly roundup, I would really like to see a monkey (preferably a small one, Capuchin, Macaque, etc.) sitting at a typewriter, with some sort of observation like, "Trump speechwriter working on 3rd draft..." It may be a little obvious, but you can't lose with monkeys.

  • Reply to: Preview for RAFI-USA's film "Under Contract"   1 day 4 hours ago

    We often rail against CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) because of cruelty and pollution issues, but those are really side-effects of corporate profit models. North Carolina's farmers are in trouble, and not just chicken farmers. Big Ag conglomerates have a stranglehold over food distribution networks, and if you want to produce more than just a few acres-worth of crops, you have to deal with them. And when you do, just breaking even becomes a challenge.

    If we don't address these issues (and soon), the agriculture industry in our state is going to eventually die out.