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Dozens arrested after Duke protest
By Bruce Henderson
Posted: Monday, Apr. 20, 2009
Police arrested more than 40 protesters today at Duke Energy's Charlotte headquarters following a rally and march against Duke's coal policies.
About 300 people gathered in Marshall Park this morning to decry the expansion of Duke's Cliffside coal-fired power plant in Rutherford County, its use of coal mined by flattening Appalachian mountains and its contributions to global warming.
After marching to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, where the protesters called on Gov. Bev Perdue to stop Cliffside, they massed outside Duke's uptown headquarters.
With the crowd chanting “Arrest Jim Rogers,” referring to Duke's CEO, several dozen protesters lined up to cross a pink spray-painted line that defined Duke's property and were cuffed by police and placed in waiting vans. Groups organizing the protest said 44 people were arrested for trespassing.
No incidents of violence were evident during the three-hour demonstration.
The event drew a cross-section of college-age and older people. Charlotte commercial real estate executive Kent Moore stood in his pinstriped suit and yellow bowtie, holding a “Clean Energy Now” sign. Moore said the Duke stock he bought several years ago has dropped sharply in value.
“It's telling me this plan of building more nuclear and coal plants isn't working,” he said. “They should take every dime they have and put it into alternative fuels.”
Duke spokeswoman Marilyn Lineberger called Cliffside a “bridge to a low-carbon future,” referring to the greenhouse gas linked to climate change. The $2.4 billion plant, now 30 percent complete, will be one of the cleanest in the country, she said.
CEO Rogers has been an outspoken advocate of capping carbon dioxide emissions, a stand that critics have hammered as his company builds a new coal-fueled plant that will spew millions of tons of the gas a year.