In North Carolina, Duke Energy is one of the top contributors to state legislative campaigns. Appalachian Voices, an environmental nonprofit organization and publisher of this newspaper, examined how much legislators and candidates received from the monopoly utility in 2018.
In total, Duke and the company’s top executives gave $465,450 to the state’s House and Senate last year. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-30) received the highest amount, $76,250. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-111) received $16,550, the highest in the House. About 78 percent of Duke’s contributions went to Republicans, who control both chambers.
Virginia-based Dominion Energy and their subsidiary PSNC Energy contributed $119,100 to the North Carolina legislature. Roughly 78 percent of their donations went to Republicans. Dominion and Duke are the largest stakeholders in the proposed fracked-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline. PSNC Energy would be the primary buyer of gas from the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Southgate extension.
In February, a coalition of 15 local, state and national groups including Appalachian Voices, the publisher of this newspaper, launched a campaign that aims to end Duke’s monopoly control of North Carolina’s energy markets, stating that the corporation is harming communities, gouging consumers and worsening climate change.
“The financial contributions of the corporate fossil fuel industry create a quid pro quo situation in our state houses, whereby these polluters get a big return in investment by obtaining political favor to reduce the rules and laws that regulate their environmental impact,” says Appalachian Voices’ Amy Adams. “This is why groups like the Energy Justice North Carolina Coalition have formed to challenge this ‘pay to pollute’ scheme.”