Jury Splits Verdict in Duke Energy Environmental Case May 20, 2009
PLAINFIELD, IND -
A jury in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana Tuesday ruled in favor of Duke Energy on four of six projects involved in a lawsuit affecting the company's Midwest power plants. The jury ruled against the company on two Indiana projects.
The litigation stems from an effort that began in 1999, when the EPA filed a number of environmental enforcement actions across the utility industry. In this case, the EPA alleged that Cinergy, which merged with Duke Energy in 2006, undertook six power plant upgrades in Indiana and Ohio without installing modern pollution controls. The government alleged that the company's work did not qualify as routine maintenance and that Cinergy should have predicted that the projects would increase emissions at the plants.
The jury found in favor of the company for three projects at its Gibson plant near Princeton, Ind., and Beckjord Station in New Richmond, Ohio, and one project at its Gallagher Station in New Albany, Ind. The jury ruled against two other Gallagher projects.
"We are pleased that after nearly 10 years of litigation, the company's position has been vindicated on the vast majority of the projects about which the government originally complained," said Marc Manly, Duke Energy's chief legal officer. "Our employees performed work that was commonly undertaken in our industry to maintain the capability of our facilities to deliver reliable and affordable power to our customers.
"Although this litigation involves a particular technical issue, what's important is that between 1998 and 2010, Duke Energy will have invested nearly $5 billion across the five states we serve to substantially reduce our emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants from our coal-based power plants," Manly said. "The net result of these investments will be a reduction of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 70 percent across Duke Energy's five-state service area by 2010."
Duke Energy is the third largest electric power holding company in the United States, based on kilowatt-hour sales. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 4 million customers located in five states -- North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky -- representing a population of approximately 11 million people. Duke Energy's commercial power and international business segments operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.