Climate-justice groups filed a legal petition with the North Carolina Utilities Commission today asserting that Duke Energy — one of the top polluting U.S. utilities — is violating state law by quietly building large amounts of inefficient gas-burning capacity without commission approval.
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While Dominion Energy and Duke Energy recently canceled the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) that had been planned to carry fracked gas from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina, number of large epoxy-coated steel pipes for the project that remain stored improperly outside, posing immediate toxic risks to nearby communities and increasing the risk of explosion if the pipes are eventually used elsewhere: 80,000
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was cancelled last week, but 80,000 large steel pipes have been stored improperly for over four years, posing an immediate risk of toxic air and water exposures to multiple communities and increasing the risk of a catastrophic gas explosion if the pipes are used at another project. That’s according to a report by a career state regulator being filed today with NC Department of Environmental Quality secretary Michael Regan.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been canceled amid economic uncertainty following years of controversy. Since 2014, the 600-mile natural gas pipeline that would have crossed eastern North Carolina has sparked debate on its environmental and economic impact.
The proposed natural gas pipeline through eastern North Carolina is dead. Long live natural gas! Admittedly, there won’t be a coronation ceremony like there would be if a living monarch were replacing a deceased one.But when it comes to reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly ways to power a 21st-century economy, natural gas is still king. Its reign will continue for many decades, despite the successful effort by left-wing activists to litigate the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to death.
Critics of a proposed natural gas pipeline through the Triad’s eastern perimeter say it could meet an end similar to the recently scrapped Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The same economic and societal forces that doomed the so-called ACP could affect the proposed MVP Southgate pipeline in Rockingham and Alamance counties, they believe.
“We hope the cancellation of the ACP will soon be followed by a move by both of these corporations to stop building gas-fired generation, and to begin replacing all existing coal and gas-fired power with the cheaper, more reliable approach: renewables matched with storage and energy-saving and balancing programs.”
Jim Warren of NC WARN – a frequent Duke critic – said he hopes the two big utilities also will stop building gas-fired power plants and speed up adoption of solar and wind energy and battery storage.
“Jubilation!” said Jim Warren, NC WARN executive director. “We hope the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipeline will soon be followed by a move by both of these corporations to stop building gas-fired generation, and to begin replacing all existing coal and gas-fired power with the cheaper, more reliable approach: renewables matched with storage and energy-saving and balancing programs.”
Subtle market tweaks can do some good to decarbonize the energy system, but for keeping fossil fuels in the ground and preventing new infrastructure, the simpler solution may just be to give ’em hell.