The Greenpeace thermal airship A.E. Bates flies in front of Duke Energy headquarters displaying messages to the largest energy supplier in the United States. Banners on the airship read "Duke: Don't Raise Rates for Dirty Energy" and "Cleaner is Cheaper." The flight calls attention to Duke's plans to continue using coal, nuclear and other forms of dangerous energy at great public cost.
The North Carolina legislature is taking the unprecedented step of firing 131 officials from several policy and regulatory boards, including the Utilities Commission overseeing Duke Energy, the Environmental Management Commission, and two bodies overseeing policies for the N.C. Coastal Management Program. The bill, SB 10, has already passed in the state Senate and is expected to make its way through the House before winding up on Gov. Pat McCrory's desk.
Contributions from freshly-mergedDuke Energy and Progress Energy to theSB 10 SPONSORStotal $147,000:
3 of 3 primary sponsors:$102,500 from Duke Energy and Progress Energy
Sen. Tom Apodaca - $35,000 from Duke and $30,500 from Progress (2002-2012)
Sen. K. Neal Hunt - $19,000 from Duke and $12,000 from Progress (2004-2012)
Sen. Bill Rabon - $3,000 from Duke and $3,000 from Progress (2010-2012)
4 of 9 co-sponsors:$44,500 from Duke Energy and Progress Energy
Sen. Andrew C. Brock - $8,500 from Duke and $2,000 from Progress (2002-2012)
Sen. Harry Brown - $14,000 from Duke and $11,000 from Progress (2006-2012)
Sen. Thom Goolsby - $1,000 from Duke and $2,000 from Progress (2010-2012)
Sen. Louis Pate - $3,000 from Duke and $3,000 from Progress (2008-2010)
WhileDuke Energyrecently shut down a couple old coal plants, it also just started operating a newcoal boiler at its Cliffside Steam Station in NC. Duke's coal pollution already contributed to over 400 deaths in North Carolina each year according to the Clean Air Task Force (see also thismap). NC GovernorPat McCroryworked for Duke Energy for 28 years, and has alreadyhired several other former Duke executivesfor his transition team and cabinet.
Groups likeNC Warn and AARP of North Carolinawere already concerned about incoming Gov. McCrory's ability to promote industry-friendly regulators to open positions in the NC Utilities Commission. With SB10 well on its way toward McCrory's desk, the situation is far more grave than good-government advocates realized.
It appears that between Duke Energy, McCrory's new multimillionaire budget director Art Pope, and shill groups bankrolled by Pope and the billionaire Koch brothers, North Carolina's government is co-opted and poised to deliver some serious blows to the state's environment, the global climate, and the health of people affected by pollution and climate-related disasters.