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Scandal fallout plagues Duke Energy's Edwardsport project

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Regulatory proceedings involving Duke Energy’s coal gasification plant, under construction in Edwardsport, have again been delayed in the wake of an influence scandal at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

The commission has pushed back another hearing, set for Oct. 26, to Dec. 2.

Last month, Gov. Mitch Daniels fired IURC Chairman David Hardy after it was revealed that Hardy was aware an administrative law judge handling the Edwardsport case, Scott Storms, was jockeying for a job with North Carolina-based Duke.

Storms was later hired by Duke, but he has since been put on administrative leave while the Daniels administration and Duke investigate.

Duke cases handled by Storms have been opened for review. Citizens Action Coalition asked the commission to stay the latest evidentiary hearing regarding the Edwardsport plant, as well.

Duke argued that the hearing should have proceeded because it amounted to a routine update on the construction of the $2.9 billion project and that further delays in the process will serve to increase the cost of the generating plant set to open in 2012.

Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Joe Hogsett, confirmed he would refer the IURC matter for possible federal review, following a request by CAC and Common Cause of Indiana. The groups are dubious of the Daniels administration’s ability to investigate allegations of official misconduct. Daniels appointed Hardy, and CAC noted that Daniels has been a supporter of Duke’s coal gasification plant.

Moreover, Duke is a financial backer of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s foundation, which has helped pay for many of the governor’s international trade missions in recent years.

“As I know you appreciate and understand, there is a distinction between reviewing a request for an investigation and opening an investigation. No decision has been made whether to proceed with an investigation,” Hogsett said in a letter to Common Cause and CAC.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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