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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In the first Duke Energy shareholders meeting since the massive coal ash spill February 2, protestors plan to protest.

Following the spill at the Dan River near Eden, North Carolina, protesters will carry signs and chant outside the meeting, while institutional investors protest inside directly to CEO Lynn Good.

The Sierra Club s Beyond Coal campaign has rallied protestors to hit Church Street at 9 a.m. Thursday outside Duke s headquarters, ahead of the 10 o'clock meeting. Charlotte s City Manager has declared the shareholder meeting an extraordinary event, beefing up police presence. The Sierra Club expects a larger turnout this year by newfound activists, spurred on by the coal ash spill.

People understand burning coal is dirty from the cradle to the grave and at the same time the cost of renewable energy is plummeting, said Kelly Martin of the Sierra Club.

At the same time groups of large investors in Duke Energy have lodged their own protests over the company s handling of the spill. Two public pension funds, CALPERS in California and the New York public pension fund, have urged fellow shareholders to vote against the reelection of a slate of four board members. A separate group of institutional investors led by the Nathan Cummings Foundation have urged Duke to launch an independent investigation and to disclose all campaign contributions.

I think it s hard for CEO Lynn Good or the Board of Directors to ignore it when you have large institutional investors saying we are gravely concerned about coal ash, said Martin.

CEO Lynn Good is scheduled to field questions from shareholders.

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