January 25, 2008
To the Editor,
The media should launch a “Truth Squad” to scrutinize both Duke Energy’s claims – and the state’s collusion in ignoring key issues – about the proposed Cliffside power plant.
Although NC WARN was required to verify the accuracy of our statewide ads, Duke continually conveys deceptive information on the news and editorial pages.
Duke’s 1/24 letter stated, “clearly the facts are not on NC WARN’s side” without contesting our facts. Instead, James Turner repeated Duke’s sleight of hand, implying that adding scrubbers to an older Cliffside unit mitigates the pollution from the proposed unit. However, the older unit’s upgrade is already required by state law, and therefore irrelevant to the planned unit.
Also integral to labeling Cliffside a “modernization” project is the implication that the new unit would be so efficient it would be “cleaner” than four older ones to be retired, while generating far more energy!
But here’s the catch: Those four older coal furnaces combined are less than 200 megawatts and used only a few weeks annually, while the new unit is 800 MW and would run constantly.
From state records:
1. The new unit would be allowed to discharge over 10 times more mercury than the retired units. An ongoing federal lawsuit will likely command Duke to use the best available mercury controls, but the state seems intent on allowing the new plant to proceed without complying with federal law.
2. Despite a second lawsuit (by EPA against Duke), the state is allowing Duke to avoid evaluating the cumulative impacts on regional air quality, invalidating the company’s claim of a cleaner plant.
3. The new unit would emit six millions tons per year of uncontrolled carbon dioxide – 12 times more than the retired ones. Yet a state spokesman (N&O 1/24) promoted Duke’s PR line by saying CO2 might be “addressed” by shutting down the four small units.
4. Duke’s highly publicized but long-delayed energy efficiency program appears designed for the utility to profit exorbitantly from modest efficiency efforts while providing PR cover to build large coal and nuclear plants.
As Dr. James Hansen emphasizes, the best thing North Carolina can do against accelerating climate change is to cancel this veritable global warming machine, and ramp up the efficient, renewable energy alternatives proving highly successful in the free marketplace.