Duke Energy

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy to recreate the wheel, says it has a rounder version in mind

Reassessing water that's already been reassessed:

Duke Energy has met its first deadline under the regulatory framework codified in the state’s new coal ash law, providing regulators with detailed plans for assessing the groundwater issues at its 14 operating and retired coal plants.

Environmental groups have criticized the state for requiring the new assessment program. They contend the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources already has evidence of leaks from Duke coal ash ponds into groundwater.

There is abundant evidence that Duke Energy's water quality testing protocol is miserably flawed. Both DWQ and third party testing have found much higher concentrations of toxins than reported by the utility, so all this reassessment will accomplish is more conflicting data, and more delays for remediation. Future headline: "Duke Energy tests have confirmed coal ash ponds much safer than previously reported."

Turning Carolina Red: Reports from the Front of an Energy and Culture War

Turning Carolina Red

We don't often share press releases, but here's a good one. It's about a book called “Turning Carolina Red: Reports from the Front of an Energy Culture War.” You can read more about it and download a PDF version (or order it on Amazon) here.

According to the release:

Coal Ash Wednesday: "Cap and leak" bill overshadowed by GOP power struggle

Fighting over who gets to rule the contaminated sand box:

But as the proposed law progressed through the General Assembly, McCrory objected to the proposed independent legislative commission that would bar his executive office from any influence over the cleanup of coal ash. Most of the commission’s members would be appointed by the legislature.

He and his counsel wrote strongly worded letters to legislative leaders, warning them that the commission would create useless bureaucracy and could violate North Carolina’s constitution. “We’ve been doing this for years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right,” McCrory said. “I need to raise these questions, not only for the executive branch but for future governors.”

I've been here at BlueNC, looking at state-level politics and policy since 2007, and I've paid particular attention to newly-created boards and commissions. The character of these bodies often gives you a glimpse into what they will do in the future, the direction in which the legislation will lead the state. Strictly from memory (without researching), the power shift proceeded thus:

Undue influence: Duke Energy pulled DENR's strings on lawsuit

This should go over well with Federal investigators:

The emails were provided Thursday to The Associated Press by the Southern Environmental Law Center, which had filed notice in January 2013 of its intent to sue Duke under the Clean Water Act.

Within days, the emails show a Duke lobbyist contacted the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, where staff exchanged messages discussing "how Duke wants to be sued."

The agency used its authority to intervene in the lawsuit, quickly negotiating a proposed settlement where the $50 billion company would pay a $99,100 fine but be under no requirement to stop its pollution.

Honestly, I didn't think they could be this stupid. Apparently I overestimated their ability to contemplate more than five minutes into the future.

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