Duke Energy’s ‘sweet’ deal

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Originally slated to pay $25.1 million in fines by the state, Duke Energy and the Department of Environmental Quality have now settled on a $7 million fine. This drastic decrease puts McCrory's views of business and the environment into stark perspective: let businesses do as they will, and if they hurt the environment, oh well.

Read more at the News & Observer 

Well, one has to admire the legal tactics if not the outcome. Duke Energy, after years of coal ash violations, made a deal with the state last week to make a $7 million payment, $500,000 for each of 14 coal ash pit and pond sites to settle the matter. In February, fears of a breach became a reality when a Duke coal ash pit in Western North Carolina spewed 39,000 tons of toxic waste into the Dan River.

Criminal investigations ensued. Gov. Pat McCrory, a former long-time Duke employee when he was mayor of Charlotte, the company’s headquarters, vowed a righteous response. 

Indeed, state environmental regulators levied a $25.1 million fine against Duke. But that all went away Tuesday when the state and the company settled for that $7 million. Duke called it a payment and didn’t even seem to concede it was a fine. 

Frank Holleman, a lawyer for the Southern Environmental Law Center, rightly called it a sweetheart deal for Duke. “There’s a $7 million fine,” Holleman said, “but Duke gets amnesty at every single site in the state. Where is any new requirement on Duke to do something it wasn’t already required to do?” 

This tepid response to reprehensible threats of environmental problems related to coal ash only underscores the attitude of the governor and GOP legislative leaders that business should be left alone with regards to regulation, and if something happens to the environment, well, that’s just the chance you have to take.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article37605624.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article37605624.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article37605624.html#storylink=cpy

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