Duke Energy, the largest electric-power holding company in the country, has “illegally pumped 61 million gallons of contaminated water from a coal ash pit” into the Cape Fear River near Charlotte, N.C., the eighth time in a month the company has violated environmental regulations in that state, the Associated Press reports.
The coal ash could contain “arsenic, lead, mercury and other heavy metals highly toxic to humans and wildlife,” according to the AP, although so far none of the towns surrounding the Cape Fear River have found problems with their drinking water.
Although Duke Energy’s political action committee has donated more funds to Republicans than to Democrats over the last two cycles, the company itself was a strong backer of the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte. That could cause headaches for the party, which has been ratcheting up its support for new environmental protections ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. After giving millions to the party in 2012 for its convention, the company forgave a $10 million line of credit taken out by Charlotte’s host committee. Then-CEO Jim Rogers, who stepped down last year, sat on the host committee that year.
Congress voted last week to eliminate taxpayer funding for political conventions, putting more pressure on both parties to bring in donations from corporate sponsors, like Duke Energy, for 2016.
Just last month, a pipe at a separate Duke Energy plant in Eden, N.C., collapsed, dumping “at least 39,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated water” into the Dan River, according to the Los Angeles Times. A federal grand jury convened earlier this week to investigate the earlier incidents, including at Eden, which could affect local drinking water and aquatic animal life.
The company controls 15 coal-fired plants in North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Florida and Kentucky.
What We're Following See More »
When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage.
The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.