Apparently Duke Energy & Pollution has grown accustomed to running the state of North Carolina and in particular, receiving the response "How high?" when ordering officials at NC DENR to jump.
In their latest demonstration of disdain for rules to protect the environment, Duke Energy & Pollution has responded to DENR's notices of violation. DENR cited Duke Energy & Pollution for illegal stormwater discharges at 6 different sites.
Duke Energy & Pollution says those citations are "in error". They said they don't even need permits for two of the sites, and:
For the four other sites, the letter says, Duke has had permit applications pending for months or years at DENR and was working through the permitting process with the agency in good faith.
Thank you for pointing out in your March 23 editorial “ Before coal ash spill, GOP was bashing environmental rules, groups” that the spill into the Dan River from Duke Energy’s 1968 coal ash pond was not the fault of the McCrory administration. How gracious.
While the McCrory administration, the EPA and others work to solve this longstanding problem, you have used it in your ongoing efforts to attack the governor. It is unfortunate for you that you must include the inconvenient fact that, while nothing was done about coal ash for decades under Democratic leadership, the McCrory administration took swift action, suing the utility over groundwater contamination and illegal discharges within 45 days of taking office.
Which, as most people in the Continental United States are now aware, was merely a ploy to limit the damages Duke Energy would have to pay from a lawsuit that was already in progress. And it also answers the question of why Duke Energy would spend so much money (over 1.1 million) to get one man elected. Sarcasm and whining might feel good, John, but it rarely (if ever) solves your problems.
But this lawyer used to represent Duke Energy, the subject of all the subpoenas in the first place.
The lawyer hired to represent North Carolina's environmental agency during a federal investigation into its regulation of Duke Energy's coal ash dumps once represented the utility company in a different criminal probe.
Thousands of lawyers, and Skvarla chose Mark Calloway, who represented Duke in the past.
The French Broad Riverkeeper detected high levels of arsenic in a water sample of wastewater leaking from the Cliffside Steam Station operated by Duke Energy on the Broad River.
Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson tested the water in a variety of locations along the Cliffside property at the Broad River on March 10. This week he reported arsenic at “25 times” the EPA drinking water standard in one seep just downstream from the spillway and near a retired coal ash pond which has dried out.
Duke Energy’s temporary pumping of two coal ash ponds in Chatham County, which was discovered last week by regulators and environmentalists, illegally put 61 million gallons of wastewater into a tributary of the Cape Fear River.
This wasn't a spill, or an accident, or a failed mechanical system. This was deliberate pumping of waste into the river.
The session at the federal courthouse in Raleigh comes as environmental groups amp up pressure on regulators and lawmakers to force Duke to clean up the leaky, unlined ash pits polluting North Carolina's waterways. Prosecutors have issued at least 23 grand jury subpoenas to Duke executives and state officials.
The subpoenas seek records from Duke, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the state Utilities Commission. They include reams of documents, including emails, memos and reports, related to the Feb. 2 spill into the Dan River and the state's oversight of the company's nearly three dozen other coal ash dumps spread out at 14 current and retired power plants.
Not to be dramatic, but: there will be blood. Grand juries have pretty broad subpoena powers, and while they might occasionally stray off into crazyville, it's virtually impossible to subvert their process from the outside. Or so we can hope.
The state Environmental Management Commission recently approved changes to North Carolina’s rules for controlling toxic air pollution, in an effort to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens and improve government efficiency while maintaining protections for public health.
The legislatively mandated rule changes would exempt most facilities from state air toxics rules if they comply with federal rules for controlling hazardous air pollutants, unless the DAQ director determines that their emissions pose unacceptable health risks. The changes developed by DAQ alter some of the minimum requirements for facilities needing toxics evaluations and would exempt certain natural gas/propane combustion sources and emergency generators from the state rules.
For all you grassroots Democrats and establishment Dems out there arguing about who is using what rooms in Goodwin House, the secret weapon for winning elections in November is right here in front of your faces. Republicans have endangered the health of North Carolinians for a couple of years now, and the evidence is overwhelming. GOTV begins yesterday.
In the federal court system, unlike North Carolina’s state courts, grand juries can conduct investigations as well as decide whether to indict a person or company on alleged criminal activity.
It's unclear exactly where they're going with this.
“I don’t think they’re looking deep enough myself,” [George] Mathis [co-founder of the River Guardian Foundation who worked at DENR for more than three decades] said. “Just in DENR activities themselves. There’s a lot more deals that have been made.
Aerial photographs of two Duke coal ash ponds at the head of the Cape Fear River show portable pumps and hoses that appear to be siphoning water into a canal leading to the river.
A spokesman for the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources said on Saturday that its inspectors noticed the pumping while on a site visit last week. “We are investigating the utility’s actions,” the spokesman, Drew Elliot, said in an email. “While routine maintenance is allowed under the permit, discharge of untreated wastewater could be a violation.”
What's the use in doing a site inspection if you're not going to stop them from polluting our water while you're there? By the time you get around to telling them to stop, they'll probably be finished anyway. And if the pumping was "noticed" last week, why are we just now reading about it, in the New York Times, no less? More from the Waterkeeper Alliance:
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