Friday, September 16, 2011

Duke Energy CEO admits water needs more attention. Um...duh.

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 5:45 PM

  • John K.

We told you so: water's important, which is exactly why Creative Loafing's critics chose water quality issues as the "Local Issue that Needs More Attention" in this year's "Best of" issue. The reason? Well, you know: no water, no civilization. End of story.

Leave it to Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers to steal our thunder with his headlines from yesterday, earned when he called water "tomorrow's oil." He's right: Water is a precious, limited resource that we need to care for, though it's ironic for him to speak on the topic since his company's oldest coal plant drains its two unlined, high-hazard coal-ash ponds into Charlotte's main drinking-water reservoir all day, every day.

You can read about that in this week's Creative Loafing, which is on stands now.

Rogers' comment isn't the only thing that went down at yesterday's water conference. Also on the agenda: Stormwater runoff issues (which are dire in Charlotte), concerns about future shortages, realities about our need to share water with our neighbors and our "water war" with South Carolina.

Check out The Charlotte Business Journal's take on the day's events, here's how it begins:

The National League of Cities has been running a national tour focused on sustainability infrastructure for water and energy. On Thursday, the “Building Cities, Building Futures” tour stopped at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte and featured several speakers, including Duke Energy Chief Executive Jim Rogers.

Opening remarks came from Siemens Energy Vice President Mark Pringle, who urged private companies to work more closely with the public sector.

“Let’s get busy and come up with a plan,” he said. “The timing is perfect.”

Pringle noted that improving urban infrastructure is key to building better cities for the future. He also gave a push for companies make their industries greener. “We need to treat sustainability not as a threat but a giant opportunity of what we could do.”

Rogers, the Duke CEO, then started off the conference with a discussion on the importance of water. “Water is tomorrow’s oil — it’s a very limited precious resource ... extremely vital,” he said.

Rogers worries about the reality that this will be a contentious political and economic issue globally. “Most experts consider fresh water to be an increasingly scarce resource here and around the world.”

Read the rest of this article, by Susan Stabley, here.

We also told you that the U.S. Environmental Agency is dragging its feet on much needed and long-anticipated regulations, like those on the coal ash ponds we wrote about in this weeks issue. And now, there's news of even more delays.

From the Union of Concerned Scientists:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it will delay climate change rules, just weeks after the White House postponed important ground-level ozone standards.

“Playing kick the can down the road with EPA rules is a dangerous game. The longer we wait, the more costly climate change will be.

“We’re seeing a dangerous trend with the president first pulling the ozone rule, and now this. We’re skeptical that politics didn’t influence this decision. The EPA has been under incredible pressure from industry and anti-environmental members of Congress who are working overtime to block its efforts to protect Americans' health and well-being. President Obama needs to stand firm in the face of this pressure, and meet his responsibilities on clean air, public health and climate change.”

Further reading: Engineer sues CDC over response to allegations about lead in drinking water — Nature News

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