Resume the finger-pointing.
Days after both the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) accused each other of being too cozy with Duke Energy, the war of words begins anew.
Today, SELC, which is representing a host of citizens groups fighting Duke Energy over coal ash in court, reports that it has filed an official response in state court to Duke Energy’s “attempt to block interviews of its employees under oath and obtainment of information related to its coal ash pollution.”
SELC writes in its brief that Duke Energy and DENR staff have been meeting “regularly” to negotiate coal ash issues and are agreeing not to seek information from each other during these enforcement cases.
This after DENR moved last week to oppose a request from Duke and SELC to add three leaky coal ash pits across the state to the “high-priority,” immediate clean-up designation in last year’s N.C. General Assembly-approved Coal Ash Management Act. DENR says such a move would circumvent a process that would include a public comment period and scientific study.
SELC, meanwhile, asks why the state’s top environmental agency would try to block immediate coal-ash cleanup. DENR has been dogged by allegations of an improperly close relationship with the utility for years as SELC sought to force clean-up of Duke’s coal ash pits across North Carolina.
Read this week’s filing here. We’ll update you as the soap opera continues.