Duke Energy Gets Slammed on Mercury Emissions

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers is the self-appointed coal industry leader in the green game -- he even got a nice spread in the New York Times earlier this year on his big ideas for climate legislation. And yet even the greenest of coal groups, Duke Energy isn't even taking basic steps to control harmful emissions like toxic mercury, much less global-warming-causing carbon dioxide.

This week a federal judge rejected Duke's attempts to build its new Cliffside coal-fired power plant in North Carolina without modern mercury and other pollution controls. Now Duke must submit this plan for a state process to review its mercury emissions.

As the first coal plant sent back to drawing board after the D.C. circuit court rejected lax Bush administration mercury rules earlier this year, this case sets a precedent. From an excellent North Carolina Business Journal article on the case:

The utility, a unit of Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp., got an air-quality permit from the state in January without that kind of review. The Environmental Protection Agency had for some time said plants such as Cliffside did not have to perform such reviews for a state permit.
In February, the federal courts struck down the EPA ruling as contrary to the law's intent. Duke had received its air permit just weeks before.

And of course, Duke Energy is fighting against cleaning up their plants by appealing this case. But for now, we are thrilled with the decision because it is a statement for cleaning up dirty coal-fired power plants.

This case shows yet again that the many corporations pushing for more coal power claiming they can make it clean are instead planning more coal-fired power plants that don't even meet basic pollution emission requirements.

That's the reality. (And speaking of reality -- did you see this week's launch of the new Reality Campaign all about realities of clean coal?)

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