Do you ever have one of those days when you feel like you're playing a hopeless game of Whack-a-Mole? As soon as you've you've bopped one bad actor, five more pop up thumbing their noses at common decency so they can have more profits. It's happening on every front. Choice. Vouchers. Pledges. Electioneering. Insurance scams. Ethics. Optometrists. Off-shore drilling. Mountain air. Ozone. Stormwater management. Climate change. Mercury. You name it, whack, whack, whack.
One organization slamming it's fair share of moles is the Southern Environmental Law Center. Their newsletter today has some very good news.
Last week, the Southern Environmental Law Center submitted arguments with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case against Duke Energy that will set a nationwide precedent for the clean up of old, coal-fired power plants.
SELC, representing Environmental Defense, Sierra Club and Environment North Carolina, charges that Duke Energy spent hundreds of millions of dollars “modernizing” eight coal-fired power plants in North and South Carolina without installing pollution controls required by the Clean Air Act. These plants emit 1.6 million tons per year of sulfur dioxide, 15 percent of the SO2 emitted by all power plants nationwide and over 300,000 tons of nitrogen oxide, a prime contributor of smog. A favorable ruling by the Supreme Court could result in a 90% reduction of these emissions.
After a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that favored industry, the federal government opted not to seek Supreme Court review and opposed the request made by SELC. SELC pressed on, however, and in May the Supreme Court granted the petition and announced it would hear the case, a highly unusual - if not unprecedented - rebuke to the federal administration.
The Clean Air Act was a hard-fought win - and it's constantly under attack. Most businesses approach compliance by trying to find the optimum minimum: as little as they can get away with. In the case of Duke Energy, what's at stake is their freedom to pollute at will. I don't know about you, but that doesn't seem like a freedom a corporation should have.
Win, lose or draw, here's to SELC! Keep on whacking.