11 March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Buccaneer Petroleum tries the “We’re Too Stupid for Words” defense:

08 March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Being a duke means you can always tax the serfs.

Duke Energy expects its 3.2 million North Carolina customers to pay the costs of closing its ash ponds, CEO Lynn Good said Friday.

05 March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

The Charlotte Observer observes:

State regulators announced Monday that they were citing Duke Energy for not having certain permits the law requires. State regulators did not announce why they let Duke skate for years without the permits, even though they had known since at least 2011 that Duke did not have them.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Duke was issued notices of violation late Friday for failing to have storm water permits at six of its N.C. power plants. That came only after a 48-inch storm water pipe without a permit ruptured at Duke’s Eden plant, spilling some 39,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River.

Getting the permits would have involved inspections that might have cost Duke a few nickels and prevented the coal ash spills, and we couldn’t have that, now could we, because of the fee hand of the market or something.

More observations at the link.

02 March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry, Words Fail Me

The Republican Party, now, as ever, the party of privilege.

All the rest is camouflage.

01 March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

The Rude One finds another Duke Power-driven coal ash spill waiting to happen.

23 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Why am I not surprised?

As ExxonMobil’s CEO, it’s Rex Tillerson’s job to promote the hydraulic fracturing enabling the recent oil and gas boom, and fight regulatory oversight. The oil company is the biggest natural gas producer in the U.S., relying on the controversial drilling technology to extract it.

The exception is when Tillerson’s $5 million property value might be harmed. Tillerson has joined a lawsuit that cites fracking’s consequences in order to block the construction of a 160-foot water tower next to his and his wife’s Texas home.

More hydraulic hypocrisy at the link.

22 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

NC Dept. of Natural Resources and Duke Energy sing a duet about wanting to see their coal ash troubles go away.

21 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

The Duke of Hazardous has a history with ALEC.

Virginia Beach has an interest in the Duke of Hazardous, as it gets a large portion of its water from the Dan River, site of the Duke’s depredations.

20 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

And I mean “mess” the same way they mean it in the Navy.

19 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

North Carolina officials said Tuesday that groundwater containing unsafe levels of arsenic apparently leaching from a Duke Energy coal ash dump is still pouring into the Dan River, which is already contaminated from a massive Feb. 2 spill.


State regulators expressed concern five days ago that the second pipe could fail, triggering a new spill. The water coming out of that pipe contains poisonous arsenic at 14 times the level considered safe for human contact, according to test results released by the state on Tuesday.

Poor little Duke energy. It’s the victim here.

A little housekeeping might have cut its profits last year. It only made $2.7 billion.

Addendum, Later That Same Morning:

Learn about the gallant hordes dedicated to protecting the Duke of Hazardous from the eco-freak insurgency.

16 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

It’s the hot new thing.

Crews should be able to extinguish a fire that has been raging since Tuesday at two Marcellus Shale natural gas wells in Dunkard, Greene County, by the middle of the week, the man in charge of the containment operation said Saturday.

“Hopefully by the middle of next week the fires will be out and if our plans go as expected, the wells [will be] capped shortly thereafter,” said Blake Loke, incident commander with Chevron Corp., which owns the wells.


Will Bunch asks the question.

11 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

09 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

. . . then do the forensics.

North Carolina’s environmental agency said Sunday it wrongly declared all test results for the arsenic levels in the Dan River as safe for people after a massive coal ash spill.

A water sample taken Monday, two days after the spill was discovered, was four times higher than the maximum level for people to have prolonged contact, such as swimming, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said.

“We made an honest mistake while interpreting the results,” state Division of Water Resources director Tom Reeder said in a statement.

Damned regulations. If we did away with them, we wouldn’t have to hear about this stuff. Corporations could just kill us quietly in our creeks.

The Rude One has a picture. More about the honest mistake at the link.

Addendum, the Next Morning:

Not only do they have trouble with chemical analysis, the North Carolina’s laughingly called “environmental agency” has actively resisted efforts to get its ash in gear.

Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps like the one that ruptured last week, spewing enough toxic sludge into a North Carolina river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools.

Each time, they say, their efforts have been stymied — by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

06 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Bayer’s slogan is “Science for a Better Life.”

By the way, you can’t blame this one on American corporate culture. Bayer is a German outfit.

Blame corporate culture as a whole.

06 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Koch donor list slips out. And the donors are just the sort of folks you’d expect.

05 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Duke Energy joins the party. Some of its party favors (emphasis in the original):

Date on which a break in a stormwater pipe beneath a coal ash disposal pit at a shuttered Duke Energy power plant near Eden, N.C. contaminated the Dan River with toxic coal ash: 2/2/2014

Estimated tons of coal ash — which contains toxins including arsenic, lead, mercury, and radioactive elements — that were released to the river: 50,000 to 82,000


Number of rail cars the toxic pollution could fill: 413 to 677

Rank of the spill among the largest coal ash spills in U.S. history: 3

No one noticed because Stupor Bowl!

Duke it out with more fun facts at the link.

03 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

It’s an inconvenient truth that economic help for the poor helps the economy, because the poor put that money right back in circulation.

Case in point: Walmart misses itself them food stamps.

Charles M. Holley Jr., the company’s chief financial officer, said that despite a fairly decent holiday season, the impact from reductions to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food-stamps program, was “greater than we expected,” the Times reports.

Billions of dollars were cut from the program last year, which left food-stamp recipients who shop at Wal-Mart with less money to spend at the world’s largest retailer, the report says.

03 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

03 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Geek Stuff, Titans of Industry

This could get interesting.

A New Castle-based credit union (New Castle, Pennsylvania–ed.), seeking to represent more than 100 other such institutions, has filed a lawsuit against Target Corp. in federal court in Pittsburgh, seeking compensation for costs related to the massive security breach of the retailer’s computer system.


According to the complaint, that left First Choice, and other similar financial institutions, with “significant costs associated with, among other things, notifying its members of issues related to the Target Data Breach, closing out and opening new customer accounts, reissuing members’ cards, and/or refunding members’ losses resulting from the unauthorized use of their accounts.”

I’m torn.

There is an emotional appeal to the thought that companies should be held accountable for such massive screw-ups. Yet, we don’t know that Target was directly responsible. Target’s point-of-sale devices contained malware; my reading tells me that many outfits contract out their point-of-sale technology to vendors.

Is Target a legitimate target, is its vendor, or do we get a circular firing squad? May we as customers sue our banks when they get penetrated (after all, they penetrate us all the tim–never mind).

If the suit encourages American card companies to adopt the chip-and-PIN technology used in Europe, which they have resisted because it’s “inconvenient” (yet massive data breaches are somehow “convenient”) (Edit: and the change would cost money), it might be all to the good.

For a good discussion of the Target breach by computer security experts, listen to the latest NetSec podcast.