Monday, June 15, 2015

North Carolina Gives Duke Power Big Break

Another example of the too cozy relationship between big business and government is the ruling North Carolina's Supreme Court giving Duke Power until 2029 to clean up groundwater pollution from its unlined ash pits.  Appearantly this constitutes "immediate action" in the highest court's opinion, overruling a lower court judge who agreed with environmentalists that rapid action was required.  Last year the North Carolina legislation passed a law in the wake of the Dan River ash spill requiring the company cap or fill all of it dumps by 2029.  Four high priority sites must close by 2019.  The case represents the "extraordinary influence" Duke Power has over North Carolina's government said an attorney for Waterkeeper alliance that brought suit against Duke.  The attorney said Duke was not subject to the same regulation that other citizens and small business had to abide, but eventually after disaster occurred the government rewrote the law to suit Duke's criminal negligence.

Last month the power company pled guilty to nine criminal violations of the federal Clean Water act and was assessed $102 million in fines, restitution and community service. The company ignored repeated warnings about its leaking coal ash pits.  After years of denial Duke admitted in December that it identified about 200 leaks and seeps at 32 dumps, oozing out more than 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater a day. Despite the egregiously damaging nature of its conduct and disregard for the public's health, the company has the temerity to challenge a $25 million fine imposed by the state for a polluting seep from its power plant near Wilmington.

So much for the concept of 'corporate citizenship'. US Person thinks it is much more realistic and accurate to refer to "coporate criminality" when describing the anti-social behavior of legal fictions that fundamentally exist to avoid social responsibility for collective behavior. Get the whole story at Persona Non Grata.