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


Lately, there has been quite kerfuffle in my local rag about the coal dust that covers much of the western part of Norfolk.

Indeed, it has reached the point that a muckety-muck from the Norfolk Southern wrote an op-ed disparaging folks who don’t like waking up to find coal dust on their properties and vehicles. According to the muckety-muck, the Norfolk Southern wasn’t there, didn’t do it, didn’t see a thing, there’s nothing to see here, move along folks.

I’ve driven past the Norfolk Southern’s coal piles–huge mountains of powdered coal waiting to be loaded on ships bound for China. If you haven’t seen them, you would have trouble believing them.

Turns out, they are grandfathered in.

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

There’s nothing like an informed consumer.

Airlines want to keep it that way.

Airlines tried and failed to block a federal rule making them tell passengers up front the full cost of airfare, including government taxes and fees. So they’re trying another route, asking Congress to do what the Obama administration and the courts refused to do: roll back the law.

13 April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

I’m beginning to think that humans are to the Earth as termites are to a home: heedlessly destroying it from within because their nature compels them to.

Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.

Termites, though, can move to the next house.

Much more at the link.


Speaking of Pigg River, to quote Pogo. “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Foreign Policy in Focus reports:

But the greatest dangers for the United States do not lurk in terrorist cells in the mountains surrounding Kandahar that are planning on assaults on American targets. Rather, our vulnerabilities are homegrown. The United States plays host to thousands of nuclear weapons, toxic chemical dumps, radioactive waste storage facilities, complex pipelines and refineries, offshore oil rigs, and many other potentially dangerous facilities that require constant maintenance and highly trained and motivated experts to keep them running safely.

The United States currently lacks safety protocols and effective inspection regimes for the dangerous materials it has amassed over the last 60 years. We don’t have enough inspectors and regulators to engage in the work of assessing the safety and security of ports, bridges, pipelines, power plants, and railways. The rapid decline in the financial, educational, and institutional infrastructure of the United States represents the greatest threat to the safety of Americans today.

And it’s getting worse.

More at the link.

Via Asia Times.

02 April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

It appears that the price of human lives, as determined by the fee hand of the market, is 57 cents each.

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

Just ask it.

As a federal grand jury probes possible criminal activity by Duke Energy, attorneys for the utility have asked a Wake County Superior Court judge to temporarily limit what information it must exchange with state regulators and environmental organizations in a lawsuit.


The motion states, “Duke intends to cooperate fully in that investigation so that it may receive a fair and unbiased assessment of its actions.”

To do that, Cooney and other attorneys for the utility contend, materials provided to the grand jury should be withheld, temporarily, from the civil proceedings underway in Wake County Superior Court stemming from DENR’s pollution cleanup enforcement actions against the company.

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

Buccaneer Petroleum has learned nothing.

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

When a massive coal ash spill was swept down the Dan River through Danville, the toxic stew smudged this proud mill city’s vision of building a new, diversified economic base.

Once a thriving hub for tobacco and textiles, civic leaders now are left to repeatedly assure residents of this city of 43,000 that the water is safe to drink, forget about persuading businesses to sink roots here. The spill is already being used by competitors to lure business prospects away from Danville, a city official says.

Maybe Duke’s CEO could kick in some of his 2013 $8+ million compensation for his stewardship of the Duke’s ashes to help out little Danville. Oh, never mind.

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

Facing South does the math. A nugget:

Estimated gallons of coal ash-contaminated wastewater Duke pumped from the impoundments into a tributary of the Cape Fear River, which provides drinking water for downstream communities including Fort Bragg: 61 million

Factor by which that exceeds the amount of wastewater spilled into the Dan River last month from another Duke Energy coal ash dump due to a broken pipe: 2

Date on which the environmental watchdog Waterkeeper Alliance flew a plane over Duke’s Cape Fear site and spotted pumps at the impoundments, leading it to notify regulators: 3/10/2014

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

The Roanoke Times gives space to a representative of the “everybody must get fracked” crowd. His article is called Fracking Is Earth-Friendly.

His reasoning goes something like this:

Because we build roads, which affect the environment, causing earthquakes and introducing methane into drinking water are good things.

Of course, the argument is all dressed up in its Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes, but that’s pretty much what it amounts to.

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.