Duke Energy CEO, shareholders to meet in uptown Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV)
Duke Energy investors met Thursday morning in Uptown Charlotte for the company's annual shareholder meeting.
The fallout from last year's coal ash spill was a major topic of discussion. Investors were met with dozens of protestors outside the Duke Energy headquarters on Church Street.
Protesters were hoping to turn the ears of shareholders and Duke executives about two issues; Coal ash and solar power. Some very tense moments as CEO Lynn Good heard passionate and heated comments from shareholders.
"It's atrocious that Duke Energy is poisoning our communities with their toxic coal ash. Just this week we've learned of new people who aren't able to drink their water from their wells because of Duke's pollution,” said Monica Embrey of Greenpeace.
Duke Energy's media relations director had this to say about the coal ash concerns.
“We've offered to supply drinking water for those who are concerned if there is shown a tie to our coal ash ponds which so far we don't think has been proven. But if there is a tie later on in the coming months as testing continues, we'll certainly take steps to address that.”
Inside the meeting, Duke's CEO Lynn Good talked about the progress they've made in coal ash management. Good says the company has formed a national panel of experts to determine the best and safest ways to safely remove and store the ash. As Good was speaking, 8 activists stood up and put a brief stop to the meeting but chanting, "Stop blocking rooftop solar".
Activists say Duke Energy has tried to block state legislation that would make solar energy available to mainstream customers in the Carolina's. During the question and answer session, 8 year old Abbie Driscoll stole the show by asking Lynn Good to stop using coal facilities and focus on solar.
After the meeting, Driscoll explained her statement to Good, "I heard from my mom that solar is really important that when I have children and my children have children the world might not be the same, so I would really like to fix it and work on it and do the things that we can do.”
Abbie said she was pleased with Lynn Good's response. Good said the company has invested 500 million dollars in solar energy in in the Carolina's with plans for more in the future.
The company is trying to resolve a lawsuit and finalize a $102 million settlement in a federal investigation. The company wants to settle charges that claim the company violated the Clean Water Act, following a coal ash spill that contaminated the Dan River in 2014.
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