Duke Energy appeals SC regulator's decision in court
Duke Energy wants a judge to overturn a decision made by South Carolina regulators this summer that has effectively blocked the company's quest for another 50-year license on the Catawba River. WFAE's Julie Rose has more: Before Duke Energy can get its hydropower license renewed by federal regulators, the company needs a certificate from both North and South Carolina approving the quality and quantity of water flowing through its dams. North Carolina already gave its approval. But in July, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control denied its permit because environmental groups and the South Carolina Attorney General complained Duke Energy's plan doesn't leave enough water for the state's needs and endangered species in the river. Duke Energy relicensing project manager Mark Oakley says the company's plan does meet the state's criteria and is therefore entitled to the certificate. Duke has appealed to a South Carolina Administrative Law Judge. "We believe that the record shows that both of those interests are being met," says Oakley. "And we frankly don't agree with the board's decision and that's why we're taking it to appeals." If the court appeal doesn't work, Duke Energy has also asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to waive the need for a water quality certificate requirement on the grounds that Duke believes the state missed its deadline .