On June 2, Federal District Court Judge Lacey Thornburg will once again take up the case of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy et. al. v. Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (No. 08-00318, filed July 16, 2008). Last December, he ruled in the Alliance’s favor, determining that Duke must perform an analysis of the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) for hazardous air pollutants, including mercury, before starting construction on a new power unit proposed for its Cliffside plant in Rutherford County.
Duke subsequently convinced state regulators that the new unit would be a minor pollutant source not requiring a MACT analysis. The Charlotte-based company is calling for a formal dismissal of the case, and Thornburg will hear their arguments on June 3 in Asheville.
In his December 2008, ruling, the judge had warned that he could order construction halted until Duke complies with the federal Clean Air Act and conducts an analysis.
A coalition of environmental groups plans to hold a brief protest at 1 p.m. at the Federal Courthouse, one hour before Thornburg revisits the case.
In other news, Duke has requested a 12.6-percent rate increase for its North Carolina customers (click here). And in Indiana, Duke has been ordered to close three of its five coal-fired units at a plant near Terre Haute (click here ).
– Margaret Williams