Coal Ash Wednesday: fighting over who gets to do nothing

Trying to determine which industry shills will sit on a commission:

The proposal, which was released to members of the House environment committee on Tuesday, would move a commission overseeing the cleanup under the oversight of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (under a previous proposal, the commission would have been independent) and grants the governor authority to appoint the chair of the nine-person body.

Notably to Democrats and environmental observers who have complained as the Republican-led legislature has grappled with the coal ash issue, the new proposal doesn’t change the Senate’s requirement that Duke deal with its ponds within 15 years. And it doesn’t specify whom – the utility company or its customers – will pay for the expensive process of removing the coal ash.

I've seen numerous commenters on social media lately opine that if Duke Energy needs to raise its rates to get the coal ash cleaned up, they'd be fine with it. What they don't understand: Duke Energy's quarterly profits are huge, and they would only have to divert a fraction of those profits to clean up their own mess. They could have been doing so all along, but they chose to keep the money or enhance their stock position by giving healthy dividends. That was their choice, not ours, so the responsibility lies squarely on their shoulders.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014