Jim Warren, executive director of the advocacy group NC WARN, said he sympathizes with Rogers’ push for a greener future but adds that North Carolina, where Duke is still dominated by fossil fuels, has little to show for his efforts. Duke is currently 41 percent coal, 33 percent nuclear, 24 percent gas, and 2 percent hydropower and solar energy.
This N&O editorial is consistent with NC WARN’s view: that Duke Energy is not doing enough to promote solar power.
There’s good news for alternative energy and northeastern North Carolina in the announcement that Duke Energy Renewables will build a massive solar energy project in Pasquotank County. But this sunny story also casts a shadow.
John Runkle, an attorney at NC WARN, a Durham, N.C.-based climate advocacy group, said. “We’re very concerned about any plans for the ultimate storage of that [waste],” he said. “We want to make sure that we’re not just passing the problem on.”
Op-Ed by Jim Warren. Closing our eyes won’t make Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash dumps go away. This tragedy for Dan River communities has now expanded into an enormous statewide toxic waste challenge requiring unprecedented leadership. The General Assembly cannot kick the ash can down the road.
It’s tragic that the state finds the need to set priorities for these sites, said Jim Warren, the executive director of N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, a nonprofit organization that advocates for stricter laws against polluters.
By sheer numbers, the 14 coal ash ponds spread across North Carolina pale in comparison to the nearly 3,000 various waste sites across the state. That includes decommissioned industrial facilities, abandoned dry cleaners and old landfills. Despite the sometimes active threats to water or air, many of these sites take years or decades to clean up, if they’re cleaned up at all. And the fund to clear out the contamination can’t keep up.
The N.C. Court of Appeals says state regulators properly excluded watchdog group NC WARN from participating in the hearing over whether Duke Energy lied to them about plans for its 2012 purchase of Progress Energy Inc.
“In what democratic body do you have the vote before you discuss the issues?” said Peter MacDowell, a shareholder who attended the meeting. “This wasn’t a utility stockholder’s meeting, this was a futility stockholder’s meeting. It was a done deal.”
State law requires Duke Energy to rely more on renewable energy sources in the near future. Environmentalists said, instead of moving in that direction, Duke is polluting the environment and passing the costs off to consumers.
What would inspire a prominent free-market nonprofit and an assertive environmental nonprofit to join forces in a very public way? Mutual concern over policies that keep the cost of a basic household necessity higher than it ought to be – not a luxury good, but something no family should be without.
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