After receiving over $1M in campaign contributions from Duke Energy, corporate puppet and elected Gov. Pat McCrory may now be in hot water as a new scandal has surfaced
RALEIGH , NORTH CAROLINA (INTELLIHUB) — Gov. Pat McCrory, who received over $1m in campaign contributions from Duke Energy (the company responsible for the recent third largest toxic fly ash spill in U.S. history), may be in hot water very soon as a grand jury has subpoenaed the N.C. Dept. of Environmental and Natural Resources and Duke Energy under felony suspicion.
To no surprise, the governor’s name likely appears on some of those documents, showing that governmental corruption is currently alive and well in America. After all, not only did the governor work for Duke Energy for some 27-years before becoming an elected official of the state, but he knowingly accepted campaign contributions from the corrupt energy giant, likely in return for future favors. Some say that one of those favors the rather light $99,111 settlement recently imposed on Duke Energy (not yet paid) under the Clean Water Act for a previous 39,000 ton spill of fly ash.
Lawyers for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources asked a judge to disregard their proposed settlement with the nation’s largest electricity provider. Under the deal, Duke would have paid fines of $99,111 over groundwater pollution leaking from two coal dumps like the one that ruptured Feb. 2.
The state’s letter came one day after a story by The Associated Press in which environmentalists criticized the arrangement as a sweetheart deal aimed at shielding Duke from far more expensive penalties the $50 billion company might face under the federal Clean Water Act. The settlement would have required Duke to study how to stop the contamination, but included no requirement for the company to actually clean up its dumps near Asheville and Charlotte.
“DENR asks this court to hold in abeyance any further consideration of the proposed consent order while DENR undertakes a comprehensive review of all North Carolina coal ash facilities in view of the recent coal ash release into the Dan River,” said the state’s letter to Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, a copy of which was obtained by the AP. “DENR will advise the court when it has completed this additional review of North Carolina coal ash facilities and the requirements of the proposed consent order.”
But some question if the legalities will eventually go much further as more claims of corruption have surfaced.
When filing a citizens environmental lawsuit under the Clean Water Act in North Carolina, a notice to the state is required to be filed which gives state prosecutors 60-days to decide whether or not to step in, becoming the plaintiffs themselves. Interestingly enough, on the 58th day the state intervened, becoming the new plaintiff as reported Wednesday by Intellihub News. This maneuver essentially gave Duke Energy an affordable pass to continue their environmentally unfriendly operations, which proved to be disastrous recently when massive amounts of toxic sludge and fly ash were spilled into the Dan River near Eden.
Now some, including locals, are demanding answers–wondering why their elected officials are in bed with large corporations.
According to reports, the Clean Water Act has helped citizens convey their message to corporations in the past, however with Duke Energy being the largest energy provider in the U.S., the imposed fine simply is not enough to make them even bat an eye.
Shepard Ambellas is the founder and editor-in-chief of Intellihub News and the maker of SHADE the Motion Picture. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook. Shepard also appears on the Travel Channel series America Declassified.
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