Climate change: North Carolina gov signs major energy law

Oct 12, 2021, 11:46 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2021, 12:42 pm
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, center, speaks before he signs into law a major energy bill, listen...

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, center, speaks before he signs into law a major energy bill, listened to, from left to right, by Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham; House Minority Leader Robert Reives, D-Chatham; House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland; and Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, D-Wake, during an Executive Mansion ceremony in Raleigh, N.C. Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Gary D. Robertson)

(AP Photo/Gary D. Robertson)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina signed a milestone energy bill into law Wednesday that aims to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s power plants by 2030, celebrating the legislative accomplishment with Republican lawmakers.

In a ceremony with legislators from both parties, Cooper enacted a consensus measure that now tasks the state Utilities Commission with coming up by the end of 2022 with the arrangements to meet the carbon dioxide reduction goals sought by the governor.

At least 16 states previously have passed legislation establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The only other Southeast state to have done so before Wednesday was Virginia.

“This is a new beginning,” Cooper said at the Executive Mansion ceremony. “Putting real and enforceable carbon reduction targets into the law, North Carolina is working to reduce the effect of climate change on marginalized populations, while putting our state at the forefront of the clean energy economy and the jobs that it brings.”

The directive aims to reduce energy producers’ carbon dioxide output 70% from 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve zero-net CO2 emissions by 2050. To get there, coal-fired power plants operated by Duke Energy, the state’s dominant utility, are expected to be retired early, replaced by an evolving mix of alternate fuels for electricity. Duke and other advocacy groups will have input, too.

The new law also allows Duke Energy to seek multiyear rate increases and performance-based earnings incentives from the state Utilities Commission — a significant win for the Charlotte-based company. Representatives of Duke and other business groups supporting the new law attended the ceremony.

Senate leader Phil Berger, a Republican, described the law as a pro-economic growth measure, saying the business slowdown during the Colonial Pipeline disruption in the spring signaled the “consequences of an extended energy supply crunch.”

“So it was critically important that the leaders of our state come together to agree on legislation for our energy future, and we did that,” Berger said. “The framework we put in place ensures continued reliability of energy here in North Carolina.”

The operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline, Colonial confirmed it paid $4.4 million to a gang of hackers shortly after a May 7 ransomware attack that had temporarily taken the pipeline system offline.

Despite strong bipartisan support for the final measure and Cooper’s involvement in negotiations, many environmental groups and advocates for the poor declined to endorse the measure. They said it provided too many loopholes for delaying percentage-reduction emissions goals. They also said it gave Duke an outsized role in forming the plan and lacked monetary assistance for low-income customers to address expected higher bills.

“This plan is not designed to support those hurt first and worst by the ongoing climate crisis,” the North Carolina Council of Churches said in a recent statement, adding the bill “will only benefit those who are already thriving, not those who are barely surviving.”

Bill supporters said there are ratemaking guardrails inside the measure and several other current programs to help customers with efficient electricity use. And the commission must achieve the “least cost path” and ensure energy reliability in reaching the targeted percentages. Cooper said renewable energy sources also would continue to decline in price.

The governor and others opposed the original measure that passed the House in July, which was much more prescriptive in telling Duke Energy which specific plants to retire early and at times what replacement fuel should be used, like natural gas. It also would have failed to reach the 70% CO2 reduction goal for 2030 that Cooper wanted. This led to extensive talks between state senators and Cooper for an agreement that was announced almost two weeks ago.

“We’re putting into law the roadmap for a sustainable future for our children and our grandchildren,” Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue of Wake County said. “The efforts to see this plan across the finish line cannot be understated.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Why Congress is looking closely at Jan. 6 rally

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has focused some of its early work on the planning of the rally at which President Donald Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell.” The rally, held that morning and planned by former White House and campaign aides, became a staging ground […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Man accused of rape convicted of trying to hire hit man

MONROE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man has been convicted of trying to hire a hit man to kill his ex-wife while he was in jail awaiting trial on sexual assault charges involving her two young daughters. A federal jury in Monroe found Steven Marcus Kelley, 48, of West Monroe, guilty on Tuesday of using […]
16 hours ago
FILE - In this Friday May 21, 2021, file photo, New York Attorney General Letitia James acknowledge...
Associated Press

AP Sources: Letitia James will run for New York governor

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Attorney General Letitia James plans to run for governor, according to three people directly familiar with her plans who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday. James will enter the race as a formidable candidate for the Democratic nomination just months after issuing a damning report that drove Andrew […]
16 hours ago
FILE - This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infect...
Associated Press

Cheap antidepressant shows promise treating early COVID-19

A cheap antidepressant reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk adults with COVID-19 in a study hunting for existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat coronavirus. Researchers tested the pill used for depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder because it was known to reduce inflammation and looked promising in smaller studies. They’ve shared the results with […]
16 hours ago
This photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based o...
Associated Press

UN envoy blames to Syria for failure of constitution talks

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Syria said Wednesday the Syrian government’s refusal to negotiate on revisions to the country’s constitution is a key reason for the failure of talks last week that left the road map to peace in the conflict-torn country in question.. Geir Pedersen expressed his disappointment to the […]
16 hours ago
FILE - New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell talks about evacuation plans at City Hall in New Orleans, ...
Associated Press

New Orleans drops mask mandate as coronavirus numbers fall

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans is largely ending a mandate requiring residents and visitors wear masks indoors as infections of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continue to fall, the city’s mayor announced Wednesday. Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a news release the mandate will be lifted Friday, with some exceptions: Masks […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Climate change: North Carolina gov signs major energy law