CleanAIRE NC Statement in response to Governor Cooper’s announced compromise with the General Assembly on energy policy legislation.
CleanAIRE NC is encouraged to see that lawmakers have made some improvements to the state energy bill (HB 951) over the version that was first proposed earlier this summer. The current bill could go even further to clarify climate commitments and establish strong protections for vulnerable rate-payers. In the days ahead, we hope lawmakers will consider slowing down to make further improvements to the bill. We encourage lawmakers to seek the advice of advocates who continue to work on behalf of North Carolina’s environment, its rate-payers, and its economy.
The impacts of climate change in our state are clear, and discussions on solutions by our state’s leaders are long overdue. As such, we are encouraged to see bipartisan progress on climate policy being made by North Carolina’s lawmakers and energy providers. Paramount to bending the curve and mitigating the worst effects of the changing climate are greenhouse gas emission reductions; to that end, this bill puts Governor Cooper’s goal of 70% carbon reductions in our state front and center.
However, the bill contains ambiguous language that creates the potential to stall climate progress. It disregards energy poverty and ensures massive profits for Duke Energy. CleanAIRE NC hopes lawmakers will further amend the bill to create sufficient guardrails that protect both the environment and low-and-moderate income families from increased rates that result from proposed changes to the current rate structure.
This bill was created behind closed doors, changed behind closed doors, and agreed to behind closed doors. This new iteration continues to put the needs of our state’s largest utility ahead of the environment and our state’s most vulnerable rate-payers.