It seemed the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy into the nation’s largest (by several measures) utility would sail through by the end of this year, but several activists in North Carolina have intervened at the last minute. The moves by environmental groups to extract funds for their pet projects out of the deal would make shakedown artists proud. Among the organizations – who have myriad methods of wringing dollars from taxpayers through lawsuits and corporate campaign-type pressure tactics – are Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, and Southern Environmental Law Center.
Armed with dozens of millions of dollars each, the litigation-loving Greenies made the laughable assertion – with help of friendly consultant Richard Hahn of La Capra Associates – that the new Duke Energy would produce more air pollution after the merger. It’s as if eco-group suck-up James Rogers, the CEO of Duke Energy, never had anything to … Read More ➡
Recently NLPC reported that Walmart’s top “sustainability” adviser, who provided significant help in getting the company’s “Green” credibility with environmentalist groups in gear, was Jib Ellison – a former wilderness expeditionist and river guide, and author of a guide on whitewater rafting. The story of his relationship with Walmart, which began with the introduction of Ellison by Rob Walton (son of founder Sam) to former company CEO Lee Scott, is documented in the new book Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Walmart’s Green Revolution by Edward Humes.
The passion for environmental concerns (which has also included foolish corporate support for cap-and-trade policies) has carried over to the philanthropic initiatives of Sam’s descendants, with the Walton Family Foundation pouring $71.8 million into oceans and river systems “conservation.” Walton heirs, including Rob, make up the entirety of the foundation’s board. A major group of sport fishermen are not … Read More ➡
U.S. Climate Action Partnership members General Electric and utilities Duke Energy and Exelon Corporation are addicted to the politics of gaming environmental regulatory policy so they can make millions off mandates and subsidies, often at the expense to taxpayers and their own customers.
The latest example was the three companies’ purchase of tables at the second annual Teddy Roosevelt Dinner, hosted by Republicans for Environmental Protection in Washington. This year GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, who as Utah governor a couple of years ago led the charge to bring his state into the Western Climate Initiative regional cap-and-trade agreement, keynoted the dinner. Looks like the companies have a hard time giving up on political losers, considering that Huntsman has only 39 percent name recognition and has 2 percent support among Republican voters, leading Gallup pollster Frank Newport to identify him as the likely next Tim Pawlenty.
REP honored Exelon … Read More ➡
It’s (once again) the law of unintended consequences for Green groups: In order to fulfill a 2007 state mandate that they derive 12.5 percent of electricity from so-called “renewable” sources, a North Carolina appeals court has ruled that Duke Energy – which will soon be more or less the only investor-owned utility in the Tar Heel state – may burn whole trees to comply with the regulation.
Last year Duke sought permission from the North Carolina Utilities Commission to classify two of its coal-fired power plants as renewable facilities, because the company wants to burn a combination of wood chips and coal at the plants. NCUC determined the renewables statute allowed that “wood derived from whole trees in primary harvest is a ‘biomass resource’ and thus a ‘renewable energy resource,’” and therefore approved Duke’s application. Environmental Defense Fund and the NC Sustainable Energy Association – with Southern Environmental Law Center … Read More ➡
Duke Energy’s business approach has been to reap favors, tax breaks and advantages by virtue of its cozy relationship with government, with benefits that have redounded to them in the form of subsidies, tax shelters, government grants and mandates for wind farms (despite its failure to provide energy on a broad scale, even though it has been around forever) and other unproven cockamamie ideas.
But one of those schemes has got Duke in big trouble. In May NLPC reported how its coal gasification plant under construction in Edwardsport, Ind., suffered approximately $1 billion in cost overruns and led to Duke’s pursuit of a (too-)friendly rate recovery deal, as well as the recruitment of the top lawyer at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. At the same time that lawyer, Scott Storms, took part in cases Duke had before IURC, and his behavior drew fines and punishment from the Indiana … Read More ➡
Duke Energy, along with General Electric and General Motors, are three of the major companies that are often criticized for their rent-seeking ways by free-market minded people, because their corporate earnings focus seems to depend more on subsidies and tax breaks from government rather than sales of their products. That all three support cap-and-trade policies (although it appears GM has left the US Climate Action Partnership) – as long as the gaming of the credit-trading system falls in their favor – is one example of this.
Duke’s, and its CEO Jim Rogers’s, appetites for government giveaways seem to be particularly insatiable among investor-owned utilities. The company is not shy about pursuing unproven, costly technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, just so long as taxpayers foot a lot of the bill.
For a few years now, Duke has been on what looks like a wind and solar … Read More ➡
General Electric announced this week it will relocate its X-ray business to Beijing in order to capitalize on the burgeoning Chinese health care market.
Bravo for them. Kudos. I’m sure it’s a smart business move for the company – just like not paying taxes in the U.S., rent seeking for “Green” subsidies and mandates, and reducing American jobs are also bottom-line wise.
But let’s please stop listening to GE CEO Jeffery Immelt (if he ever was really taken seriously), who is the head of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, whenever he tries to lecture other American corporations on how to conduct their businesses. His hypocrisy is astounding, as illustrated in a Wall Street Journal report about his visit to one of his own gas turbine factories in South Carolina just two weeks ago:
Mr. Immelt said the wage differential between the U.S. and China and India
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Back in April some on the Internet tried (and failed) to argue that Walmart had abandoned political correctness – especially with regard to environmental causes – because the company had suffered seven (now eight) straight quarters of same store sales declines. NLPC showed that if anything, Walmart was more committed to “sustainability” than ever.
Those priorities, under CEO Mike Duke (in photo), may have reached absurd new heights last week as the world’s largest retailer announced a partnership with utility giant American Electric Power to give away electricity. That’s right – free electricity! But as you might imagine, there’s a catch.
Turns out you need to possess one of those hard-to-find new electric vehicles produced by General Motors (Chevy Volt) or Nissan (the Leaf). As part of what Walmart calls its “Sustainability 360” initiative, the superstore chain and AEP announced the placement of … Read More ➡
The latest pressure tactic engaged in by global warming activists is to crank out their own journalism, then get an allegedly objective news organization to run their stories. Such was the case recently with the group SolveClimate and the Reuters news agency, when they co-published an article that attempts to pressure corporations to adopt climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives.
The report was fused with another environmentalist strategy: use shareholder compulsion to convince corporate leadership of the need to address global warming. As National Legal and Policy Center reported in recent months, activists have:
SolveClimate began its story with one … Read More ➡
National business associations have been targets of intimidation tactics by environmentalist groups for some time now. For example, Greenpeace trespassed on the grounds of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the eco-gangs attacked their climate change positions to the point where individual members left the organization. Meanwhile “Green” investors have pressured companies to leave the chamber as well.
The environmental groups have similarly gone after the National Association of Manufacturers, and now “Green” investment groups have turned up their campaign against corporate members of the group to “explain themselves” with regard to “contradictory stances” between what the companies individually say about climate change, versus the position that NAM takes. Specifically the eco-financiers are upset that in March NAM backed an amendment to a small business bill that would prevent EPA from “overregulation” of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources (that is, smokestacks from industry and utilities). NAM explained:
… Read More ➡