Duke Energy

Will Duke Energy try to force customers to pay for its coal ash spill?

The Magic 8-ball says, "Well, duh."

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s customers are paying for part of the clean-up of the 2008 coal fly ash slurry spill at TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant. They are getting hit with 67 cents per month over a decade to pay for it, said Gabriel Wisniewski, energy campaign director for Greenpeace USA.

Meghan Musgrave, Duke spokeswoman, would not say whether the company’s ratepayers — including customers in Rockingham County, N.C. — would face higher monthly rates to help cover the costs of cleaning up the incident at Duke’s old Dan River Steam Station. “At this point, we’re just focused on fixing the repair at the plant and doing the right thing,” Musgrave said Friday.

If you had done "the right thing" at some earlier point, like maybe using a liner on this coal ash pond, which has been a recommended best practice for decades, we wouldn't be having this particular conversation. And at some later point, when you're trying to figure out how to recoup the x million dollars this preventable fiasco cost the utility, you need to do "the right thing" at that time by not charging us for your negligence and incompetence.

Protest today at Duke Energy in Charlotte over coal ash threat

Be there if you can:

Charlotte Environmental Action said the activists will gather at noon outside the headquarters, on Church and Stonewall streets, to protest the leakage from a Duke Energy coal ash pond into the Dan River in northern North Carolina. The river supplies drinking water for Danville, Va.

The group says a coal ash lagoon at Duke’s former plant near Mountain Island Lake is a threat to that impoundment, which supplies drinking water for Charlotte and other communities. Duke Energy officials have said they plan to clean the site and that the lagoon is not a threat to the lake.

Duke Energy has been sitting on its hands for years on this issue, and it will continue to do so as long as the state leaves environmental stewardship up to the largesse of polluters. They're simply not going to spend the money unless forced to, and that force won't come to bear in the absence of public outrage.

The Duke Energy coal ash spill into Dan River is not a problem. Just ask John Skvarla.

Rest easy, folks. Ol' John Skvarla is on the scene at the Duke Energy Dan River coal ash spill, and guess what? There's not a problem. That's right, people. A few hundred thousand TONS of coal ash in the Dan River qualifies as "normal" according to North Carolina DENR. All is well.

Not:

Duke Energy pollutes Dan River with coal ash spill

And it's apparently still doing so as of right now:

Duke Energy said Monday that an unknown amount of coal ash was released from a pond at its retired Dan River power plant in Eden into the Dan River.

Duke said a stormwater pipe beneath the ash pond broke Sunday afternoon. Water from the 27-acre pond drained into the stormwater pipe. A team is still trying to stop the flow from the pipe, Duke said Monday afternoon.

As nasty as Burlington's raw sewage spill was, this is even nastier. A toxic soup of poisons and heavy metals unleashed, and there's not a damned thing Duke can do to mitigate the damage downstream. It's time for the courts to deal with this, because elected officials and industry aren't going to.

Duke Energy tries to undermine residential Solar PV

Changing the rules in the middle of the game:

Duke Energy wants the North Carolina Utilities Commission to let the company pay for rooftop solar power what it pays for other types of generated power.

Owners of rooftop solar systems sign contracts with Duke Energy that allow them to sell surplus electricity for 11 cents per kilowatt hour, the same price households pay for electricity.

If individual residential Solar owners charged Duke the way Duke charges the rest of us (or tries to, anyway), they would force a much higher rate down Duke Energy's throat to cover the cost of their construction within a few short years. But that's not how it works. Even at 11 cents per kilowatt hour, the return on investment for a residential Solar PV array goes well past the ten year mark. But if Duke Energy gets its way on this pricing request, the ROI for many will be extended, adding years to the payoff, and causing many who are contemplating this to change their mind. Which is the (real) goal of Duke Energy.

NC GOP using Bonner Bridge issue to attack SELC

Another crisis, another opportunity to mislead the public:

In the midst of such a serious challenge, however, we find it disingenuous and irresponsible that you have chosen to aggressively, publicly, and inaccurately blame environmental organizations for this bridge closure. As a result of your urging, we have been at the receiving end of multiple threats based on misinformation you have provided. Rather than continue with these irresponsible public attacks, we encourage you to provide the leadership required to resolve the closure as quickly as possible and to focus on developing a long term solution to replace Bonner Bridge that ensures safe and dependable transportation to Hatteras Island.

Make no mistake, the Republicans are wetting their pants at the prospect of endangering the safety of the attorneys working for the Southern Environmental Law Center. The group has been a thorn in the side of irresponsible developers and polluting industries, and the GOP would love nothing better than to sweep this organization out of the way. And the bridge is only part of this story. A comment I posted on Facebook:

Massive annual fish-kill connected to leaking coal ash ponds

The toxic legacy of coal-burning power plants lives on even after they're shut down:

The pollution is likely responsible for a 50% reduction in largemouth bass in the lake, says Dennis Lemly, an associate professor of biology at Wake Forest who written a new study of the lake's fish population. He says he has direct evidence that selenium poisoning is killing an estimated 900,000 bluegill in the lake every year.

He put the value of the fish killed at between $4.5 million and $7 million per year. And he said selenium leaching from the ponds is leaving thousands more fish deformed.

Of course Duke Energy disputes this study, even though they've known for years that the Sutton coal ash situation has been deteriorating steadily. And it's not just the fish that are being adversely impacted, Sutton leaks are ruining the water table in the area, as well:

DAG McCrory gets his "Three E's" mixed up

The word "Efficiency" is apparently too complex for immediate memory recall:

The event at Blandwood drew about 100 guests to hear McCrory and Martin, the honorary Morehead Forum chairman, say they hope the conference series that debuts next year helps bring the state as many good things as Gov. Morehead did with his focus on railroad construction, other forms of transportation and public education.

“Whether Republican or Democrat, education, economic development and energy, these are the things we have to have in this state,” said McCrory, who grew up in Jamestown after his family relocated from Columbus, Ohio.

I'm not sure "focus" is one of our current Governor's strong suits. And no offense to Taft Wireback, but this is not a direct quote. I just watched (News14) McCrory make his statement, and he rattled off the education and economic development just fine, but then did a squirrel-in-the-middle-of-the-road thing with his head before blurting out "Energy!" And if he hadn't been a former(?) Duke Energy employee, the missing "E" might just as easily have been "Eggs!" or "Elephants!" For God's sake, there's only three of them. Even a pre-k student can keep up with that many important words.

Duke Energy's stubborn refusal to deal with NC's coal ash problem

Why do today what you can put off indefinitely:

“It's really a very simple notion,” said Frank Holleman, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, which is now suing Duke Energy over coal ash disposal. “It's not cutting edge technology; it's just basic common sense.”

Environmental groups like the Catawba Riverkeeper are suing Duke Energy to prompt the utility to get moving and clean up the remaining coal ash. But Duke is in no hurry. “We don't act hastily,” said Duke spokeswoman Lisa Hoffmann. “We base all our decisions on science and engineering; that's the kind of business we run.”

Of course they're in no hurry. They've bought and paid for the Governor's mansion, 3/4 of the Legislature and most of the NC Utilities Commission, and they've been able to get a bumbling idiot installed at DENR. Why go to the trouble and expense of stacking the deck if you're still going to have to pay for all those pesky cleanup jobs? The only "science" Duke Energy engages in is political science.

Duke Energy's coal ash problem worsens

And that problem is seeping into our water systems:

The Allen Steam Station has both unpermitted discharges (seeps) and groundwater violations at wells around the site. The Marshall Steam Station was cited only for groundwater violations. In November 2012, the Riverkeeper reported unpermitted discharges at Allen to the EPA and the State. Investigating this summer, multiple other unpermitted discharges were discovered and tested. The liquid seeping out from the Allen coal ash lagoons have manganese (a neurotoxin) at 44 times the standard, cobalt at 39 times the standard, and boron at 1.2 times the standard.

Every day that passes with no efforts on the part of Duke Energy to mitigate these threats leaks more toxins into our precious water supplies, and the problem isn't restricted to a specific region or geologic formation. The same thing is happening near the coast, and you can't put that poisonous genie back into the bottle.

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