Last month's coal ash spill in North Carolina's has become a dramatic example of the influence a single company, Duke Energy, can exert through political spending and having friends in high places. Since the spill, which contaminated a large part of the Dan River, protesters have called on NC Gov. Pat McCrory to hold Duke accountable and take steps to prevent future spills.
And this week, protesters gathered in Charlotte to challenge Duke's plan to have its own customers pay for cleaning up the spill, with Duke claiming that such accidents are the price of producing electricity.
According to research by our friends at Democracy North Carolina, Duke spent more than $1 million in support of Gov. McCrory's 2008 and 2012 campaigns, gave more than $400,000 to state lawmakers last year, and is using its Renew North Carolina committee to spend untraceable "dark money" in support of Gov. McCrory's policy's.
This combination of toxic spending and toxic pollution is putting a national spotlight on Duke, and a massive protest is planned for the company's annual shareholders meeting in Charlotte on May 1, where shareholders will be voting on a resolution that would require the company to disclose all of its political spending.