It has been over a month since the Duke Energy coal ash spill and we are still finding new leaks. The cost of cleaning up this ecological disaster will be in the millions and North Carolina taxpayers should not have to shoulder the burden.
New polling from PPP shows that 79% of Democrats and Republicans agree, Duke Energy shareholders, not taxpayers or customers, should pay to clean up the coal ash spill.
Governor Pat McCrory worked for Duke Energy for thirty years and received over a million dollars in direct and indirect campaign contributions from them.Recently released emails show that his administration's regulators coordinated closely with officials from Duke Energy before intervening on behalf of the company in a lawsuit filed by Southern Environmental Law Center. According to the AP,
The agency used its authority to intervene in the citizen lawsuit, quickly negotiating a proposal where the $50 billion company would pay a $99,100 fine to settle environmental violations but be under no requirement to actually clean up its pollution.
Environmentalists have derided the proposal as a "sweetheart deal" by compliant state regulators to shield Duke from far harsher and more expensive penalties the company would have likely faced had the citizens groups been allowed to move forward in federal court.
Governor McCrory needs to know that the people of North Carolina are watching.
Duke Energy executives have already mentioned the possibility of rate increases in the future to offset the cost of clean up, which they now estimate may take over two years. They also have said that customers, not shareholders, will pay should the State require it shut down the remaining coal ash ponds. Through a series of tax breaks and subsidies, Duke Energy paid no federal income tax from 2008-2012. With $2.7 billion in profit last year, Duke Energy can afford to fix its own mistakes and to ensure they never happen again.
Even though this tragedy did not occur in our community, we are all threatened when regulators do not hold corporations accountable for their malfeasance. As the State Senator representing the progressive base of North Carolina, I feel a responsibility to lead on an issue so critical to the future safety of our water supply and natural resources.
Please support my effort by signing my petition to tell Governor McCrory to hold Duke Energy responsible for 100% of the cost to clean up the disaster they created and to prevent coal ash from ever again polluting our water supply.