Duke Energy Objects to Miniscule Fine

I wrote a month ago about the tiny, insignificant fine imposed on Duke Energy by the state of North Carolina after years of polluting both surface and ground waters. But even that little slap on the wrist is too much for them. They’re accusing the state of “regulatory overreach.”

Duke accused the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of going beyond its authority and not following state procedures. The company, which reported an annual revenue of more than $24 billion last year, also claimed that the fine was bad for business in North Carolina.

“We cannot allow this level of regulatory overreach to go unchallenged,” Paul Newton, Duke’s state president for North Carolina, said in a statement. “The actions by NC DENR send a chilling message to the North Carolina business community.”

When the fine was handed down March 10, the DENC said it calculated the total using daily fine amounts, compounded over the significant length of time Duke allowed pollutants to enter the local watershed. For example, in this case, the state determined that levels of thallium, a toxic heavy metal, exceeded the standard for 1,668 days — more than four and a half years. The daily penalty for thallium pollution in North Carolina is $5,000.

Coal ash is a toxic byproduct of coal-fired power plants. It is often stored near lakes and rivers in coal ash ponds, which can contaminate nearby waterways with thallium as well as mercury, cadmium, and arsenic — elements that have been linked to cancer.

Though the fine was the largest in NC history, it’s only about 1/1000th of a single year’s revenue for the company. And this pollution went on for years and years. But as in everything, profits over public health and safety.

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  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    The government shouldn’t be fining them; it should be rewarding them. I mean, look at all the jobs they’re creating to clean up the mess that they’re also creating!*

     

    * “Oh, Father, you’re so wrong. Let me explain.” [closes office door, places an empty glass on desk] “Life, which you so nobly serve, comes from destruction, disorder and chaos. Take this empty glass. Here it is, peaceful, serene and boring. But if it is…” [pushes glass off table] “…destroyed…” [robot cleaners move to clean broken glass] “Look at all these little things. So busy now. Notice how each one is useful. What a lovely ballet ensues so full of form and color. Now, think about all those people that created them. Technicians, engineers, hundreds of people who’ll be able to feed their children tonight so those children can grow up big and strong and have little teeny weeny children of their own, and so on and so forth. Thus, adding to the great chain… of life.” [Desk prepares a glass of water and a bowl of fruit] “You see, Father, by creating a little destruction, I’m actually encouraging life. In reality, you and I are in the same business. Cheers.” [drinks water with cherry…] ~ Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg

  • eric

    Duke Energy’s position seems to be that the state of North Carolina is contaminating the marketplace with hazardous regulation, and so they must be ordered to stop and be punished for it.

  • lldayo

    I’d give my 2 cents but I’m currently protesting the overreaching cost.

  • Kevin Kehres

    Well, this is hardly surprising, since the newly elected junior senator from NC is Thom “requiring restaurant employees toi wash their hands after pooing is regulatory over-reach” Tillis.

    Everything is regulatory over-reach. Even complaining about regulatory over-reach is regulatory over-reach.

  • colnago80

    This illustrates why it is good idea to phase out coal burning power plants, aside from questions relative to climate change.

  • sabrekgb

    For the lazy: the fine amount was $25 million.

    Mentioned in the article, but not the post