News: Duke Energy-friendly bill would lock NC into fracked gas future

Three state representatives yesterday released language for an omnibus energy bill that would unnecessarily lock North Carolina into continued reliance on burning fracked gas at a time when the cost of renewables and energy storage are falling.

The bill is in stark opposition to Gov. Roy Cooper's goals to address the climate crisis and transition North Carolina to a clean energy economy by 2025.

Reps. John Szoka, Dean Arp and John Bell released the language, which is expected to be inserted into House Bill 951 in the House Energy Committee on Thursday.

In addition to lining up harmful fracked gas as a replacement for coal, the measure would be a significant step backwards in the way the N.C. Utilities Commission reviews energy plans by Duke Energy and other utilities. The bill hamstrings regulators and reduces oversight and transparency. Communities now experiencing pollution from coal plants would continue to be burdened by living next to fracked gas plants and would be allowed less opportunity for input.

“We urge the House to reject this bill and instead begin a transparent, public stakeholder process that includes ratepayers, environmental groups and the voices of fenceline communities that would be harmed by the fracked gas facilities being proposed. A clean energy future is within our grasp. Let’s not lock North Carolina into continued and unnecessary reliance on dirty fossil fuels,” said Cynthia Satterfield, acting director of the N.C. Sierra Club.