Friday, February 21, 2014

Duke Energy's Environmental Destruction May be at the Taxpayers Expense

Duke Energy spilled tens of thousands of tons of arsenic infested coal ash into the Dan River. This is the third-largest disaster of its kind in US history has contaminated the river and prevents people from safely swimming and fishing. People are not the only life forms impacted, clams, mussels, crustaceans as well as birds, fish and turtles are also being suffocated by the toxic sludge.

Although the company’s CEO, Lynn Good, told The Charlotte Observer that Duke would pay for for the spill, Greenpeace is unconvinced. The environmental organization reports that Duke Energy will not be paying for the cleanup, instead they are expecting taxpayers to foot the bill. This is not the first time that Duke's malfeasance has cost the taxpayer. When they shut a nuclear reactor in Florida that they broke during a botched repair job, they charged their Florida customers over $3 billion.

"...given Duke’s history of dishonesty around this spill — and, quite frankly, most everything else — Ms. Good hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt," Greenpeace said. "More likely, Duke is trying to appease the public with some vague promises of accountability, wait until the scandal passes, then ask regulators at the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) to let Duke charge customers for its mess once national media interest has cooled and fewer people are paying attention."

Greenpeace goes on to point out that the head of the NCUC is "appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory, former Duke employee of 28 years. The other McCrory’s Administration agency charged with regulating Duke, the Department of Natural Resources (DENR), helped Duke sweep its coal ash problem under the rug. That agency is now under federal investigation."

Duke's irresponsible conduct is all the more unconscionable in light of reported profit increases of 58 percent in the last quarter of 2013.

© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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