A Dark and Dirty Iceberg

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The Dan River coal ash spill, while the third largest in U.S. history, represents just the tip of a dark and dirty iceberg.

National media coverage from the L.A. Times to the Washington Post to the Rachel Maddow Show has pointed out the all too cozy relationship between Duke Energy, NC DENR, and Governor Pat McCrory. A Federal investigation into possible criminal charges and continued reports of illegal discharges from coal ash dumps has been a reminder that Duke Energy has its priorities wrong. And now a major shareholder revolt from some of the largest investors is calling for a separate investigation into the spill and even a vote against the re-election of four directors because they “have failed to fulfill their obligations of risk oversight as members of a committee overseeing health, safety, and environmental compliance at the company”.

The Dan River coal ash spill has reminded us that Duke has too many outdated, dirty coal plants threatening our air, water and public health. It has brought to greater public light the fact that decades of illegal coal ash pollution has taken a toll on all of us and our rivers, lakes and streams. It has brought together diverse groups of citizens pointing out that low-income communities have paid too high a price for Duke Energy’s coal ash waste, paying with contaminated drinking water and pollution.

For shareholders, customers and North Carolina residents, the next steps are clear. Duke must clean up toxic coal ash everywhere. Without real action, Duke’s legacy in NC will be covered in coal ash. Duke must set a clear plan to phase out more of its coal-fired power plants across the state, starting with the Asheville plant. Duke must support, not crush solar power – that means recognizing the value of solar and supporting small solar businesses in NC.
Customers should not be forced to foot the bill for Duke Energy’s coal ash problem. The company and its shareholders should have to pay the cost for decades of illegal pollution. All North Carolinians deserve real action from Duke Energy that doesn’t move the problem from one place to another. The best way to deal with coal ash long term is to phase out coal in North Carolina and lead the South with clean energy solutions.

It’s time to remind Duke Energy and the company’s shareholders that the nation’s largest utility company has failed us. It’s time to let our local and state elected officials, NC DENR, and the NC Utilities Commission know that we want to move beyond coal in North Carolina and shift boldly to solar power, wind energy and the full suite of clean energy solutions that create jobs while protecting our people, our health and our environment.

That’s why we need your voice and presence to be heard. Between now and the start of the 2014 Legislative Short Session, May14, we need in-district meetings with state elected officials calling for strong coal ash regulations. On April 30th we need you and clergy from across the state to come to Charlotte on the eve of the Duke Energy shareholder meeting in a Light the Path Forward gathering, a candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash. And we need your signs and voices to be heard at the May 1st Duke Shareholder meeting rally and press conference where hundreds of concerned citizens from across the Duke service area will gather.

North Carolina needs an energy company we can be proud of and shareholders need a company they can be proud of. Right now, Duke Energy fails on both counts. Join us as we work to move beyond coal in North Carolina and shift boldly to solar power, wind energy and the full suite of clean energy solutions that create jobs while protecting our people, our health and our environment.

Make plans to join us and invite your friends, neighbors, and clergy.

Light the path forward: Candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash
Wednesday, April 30th, the eve of the Duke Energy annual shareholder meeting
7:30 to 8:30 PM
New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St, Charlotte, NC
Facebook Event: Light the path forward
Clergy, Lay Leaders, and People of Faith – A Call to “Light the Path Forward”

Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting Rally and Press Conference
Thursday, May 1st
8:30 AM arrive and set up for 9:00 AM rally and press conference
Former Duke Energy headquarters, 526 South Church St, Charlotte, NC (location of shareholder meeting)
Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting – April 30 Candlelight Vigil, May 1 Rally

 

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