McCrory on Defensive Over Coal Ash Spill and his Duke Energy Cozy Relationship

mccrory_duke_closeGraphic by the Institute for Southern Studies

WRAL broke this story about an exchange between Governor McCroy and the media.

During the question-and-answer period after Friday’s winter storm update, McCrory took exception to a reporter’s question about whether he had communicated with Duke Energy or its lobbyists about his administration’s intervention into those lawsuits.

“I have had no conversations with Duke Energy about the lawsuits or about the federal action,” McCrory responded. “I think some of the premise of your question is totally inaccurate.”

Visibly irritated, he added that he would “have [DENR] Secretary [John] Skvarla give you a call and make some of those corrections.”

Another reporter asked the governor whether his ownership of Duke Energy stock creates a conflict or the appearance of a conflict of interest for him.

“In my 14 years as mayor of Charlotte and my one year as governor, I separate my job as governor, and I’m very proud of the job we’ve done as governor, and that regards to any company in North Carolina,” McCrory answered.

When a reporter attempted to follow up, McCrory shouted him down. “Excuse me, sir! Excuse me, sir! You have not been recognized!”

When the reporter tried again, McCrory admonished him, “It’s no time to be disrespectful.”

Read the full article at McCrory on defensive over coal ash spill

Why in the world would Governor Pat be on the defensive?

Sue Sturgis of the Institute for Southern Studies does a great job of laying out the facts!

Just how cozy are Gov. McCrory and Duke Energy?

by Sue Sturgis

Date on which news broke that the U.S. Justice Department launched a criminal investigation into the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) following Duke Energy’s massive coal ash spill into the Dan River: 2/13/2014

Month in which DENR’s chief lawyer will reportedly appear before a federal grand jury looking into the matter: 3/2014

Number of times over the past year that environmental groups have tried to use the federal Clean Water Act’s citizen lawsuit provision to force Duke Energy to clean up its coal ash pits, only to have their efforts blocked by DENR: 3

Under a settlement DENR reached last year with Duke Energy over its coal ash pits, amount the agency fined the Charlotte, N.C.-based company while requiring no cleanup: $99,112

Given Duke Energy’s 2012 operating revenues of $19.6 billion, the fine’s dollar equivalent for a person earning a $60,000 salary: $.30

Number of plaintiffs in the environmental groups’ lawsuits that DENR consulted before negotiating the settlement: 0

Of the 5,000 public comments submitted about the settlement, number that supported DENR’s plan: 1

Date on which DENR, after coming under sharp criticism following the spill, asked a judge to reconsider the settlement: 2/10/2014

Number of years that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) worked for Duke Energy before retiring in 2007 to run for the state’s top office: 28

Minimum value of Duke Energy stock McCrory reported owning last year, though he has refused to disclose his exact holdings in the company: $10,000

Amount in direct contributions to McCrory’s two gubernatorial campaigns made by employees, former employees, spouses, and political action committees of Duke Energy and its Progress Energy subsidiary from 2008 through 2012: $332,836

Amount Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good contributed to McCrory’s successful 2012 campaign: $4,000

Amount the Republican Governors Association (RGA) spent supporting McCrory during his 2008 and 2012 gubernatorial bids with “independent” advertising and electioneering: $10.4 million

Amount Duke Energy and Progress Energy contributed to the RGA from July 2008 to November 2012: $761,800

Date on which consumer and environmental watchdog groups, citing McCrory’s ties to Duke Energy, called on the governor to recuse himself from appointing members of the N.C. Utilities Commission, a request he ignored: 1/4/2013

Year in which McCrory, while working for Duke Energy and serving as a Charlotte council member and mayor pro tem, chaired a council meeting and voted on a matter in a way that benefited his employer’s bottom line, sparking a case that went to the state Supreme Court, which allowed the council’s decision to stand though a dissenting opinion from a Republican justice raised concerns about McCrory’s conflict of interest: 1994

Year in which McCrory, by then serving as Charlotte’s mayor while still working for Duke Energy, went to Washington, D.C. to testify as mayor against federal clean air regulations for the city that would have cost his employer an estimated $600 million: 1997

Date on which an attorney with the Waterkeeper Alliance, a clean-water advocacy group, discovered an ongoing leak of coal ash into the Dan River from Duke Energy’s ash pit upstream of where this month’s massive spill occurred: 2/6/2014

Number of times the arsenic concentration in the newly discovered leak exceeds the human health standard: 18

Date on which DENR officials denied knowledge of any ongoing leaks at the site when questioned at a public meeting in Danville, Va., a city that draws its drinking water from the river: 2/11/2014

Number of additional details DENR officials requested about the location or character of the ongoing leak, which violates the federal Clean Water Act: 0

Date on which Duke Energy, under DENR’s watch, began vacuuming spilled coal ash out of the river and pumping it back into the still-leaking pit: 2/12/2014

(Click on figure to go to source.)

Read the full report at INSTITUTE INDEX: Just how cozy are Gov. McCrory and Duke Energy?

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