Upstate Forever and SELC Join Forces to Oppose Duke Energy
Charleston, S.C.- The Southern Environmental Law Center today announced that it is representing Upstate Forever in Upstate Forever’s efforts to stop Duke Energy from building a massive new transmission line and a new substation in South Carolina. Upstate Forever opposes the project because of its damaging impacts upon the natural, scenic, and economic resources of the upstate area and because Duke Energy has shown no compelling need for the project. If Duke Energy persists in the project, there will be proceedings before the South Carolina Public Service Commission.
“Every one of the routes proposed by Duke for this large transmission line is bad news for South Carolina’s upstate area,” said Blan Holman, managing attorney of the South Carolina office at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “But we shouldn't even be talking about the line because the massive gas plant itself is not needed to serve Duke’s customers. No outsized gas plant means no huge new line and no new substation.”
The lead attorneys representing Upstate Forever will be Frank Holleman and Blan Holman. Holleman, is a senior attorney who coordinates SELC’s coal ash work, which has secured commitments from Duke Energy to clean up more than half of its coal ash sites in the Carolinas and all of its coal ash in South Carolina. This year, Duke Energy companies pleaded guilty 18 times to nine federal coal ash crimes in North Carolina, were assessed over $100 million in penalties, and remain on nationwide criminal probation. Holman is managing attorney of SELC’s South Carolina office and an experienced litigator before the South Carolina Public Service Commission. He successfully pursued an air pollution case against Duke Energy to the United States Supreme Court, resulting in a unanimous 9-0 ruling against Duke Energy in 2007.
“This is a costly, unneeded project that will do permanent harm to the Upstate and cost ratepayers over $1 billion,” said Brad Wyche, executive director of Upstate Forever. “We are excited to have the legal expertise of the Southern Environmental Law Center working for us and the best interests of our region in fighting this horrible proposal.”
“All of us who live in the Upstate know that the Blue Ridge mountains and the hills of the Piedmont define our home,” said Frank Holleman with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Duke’s proposal is a blow to our quality of life.”
Upstate Forever is a leader in opposing Duke Energy’s proposal to build a new 45 mile long power line, over 200 feet wide and up to 190 feet high, through the Blue Ridge mountains and the Piedmont. Duke is facing overwhelming public opposition to its proposal, including thousands who have signed petitions and attended public meetings and hearings. Upstate Forever is urging Duke Energy to abandon its proposal and to use more modern and economical approaches to meeting the real energy needs of the region, including energy conservation and efficiency and clean energy alternatives, such as solar.
About Upstate Forever
Upstate Forever is a non-profit membership-based organization working in the Upstate region of South Carolina, including the counties affected by Duke Energy’s proposal. Through its Land Trust program Upstate Forever has protected over 19,000 acres of special places across the region, including nearly 3,000 acres in Duke Energy’s “study area” for the project. For more information, see www.upstateforever.org.
About Southern Environmental Law Center
The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of almost 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.