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.
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Debbie Wasserman Schultz has given up her last remaining duty at this week's convention. Now, she's told her hometown newspaper, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that she will not gavel in the convention today. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will do the honors instead. "I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention," Wasserman Schultz said.
Perhaps this talk of unity has been overstated. Addressing a room full of his supporters today, Bernie Sanders heard "sustained boos" when he said he said it was essential that we elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
The FBI this morning issued a statement saying it is "investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC," adding that "a compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously." Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's campaign is suggesting that the hack "was committed by Russia to benefit Donald Trump."
A group of delegates loyal to Bernie Sanders is actively exploring how to challenge Tim Kaine's nomination for the vice presidency. A lead of the group "said he hoped the Democratic National Committee releases information within hours on how to submit a challenger to Kaine, which he said would require the signatures of 300 delegates. He said they have until Wednesday morning to file a challenge to Kaine and stressed that while his group would take any requests from the Sanders campaign under consideration, the delegate group is an independent organization."
Here are some more numbers out of Utah that should frighten Donald Trump—and give hope to Gary Johnson. "An internal poll conducted for Rep. Mia Love two weeks ago found Trump at 29 percent, Clinton at 27 percent" and Libertarian candidate Johnson at 26 percent. "That was, however, before Trump picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence." Utah party chairman James Evans said that move ought to clinch the state for Trump. "Utahns are going to come through because the level of distaste for Hillary is so deep," he said.