Amid the grim financial outlook of our country and the dog days of summer hanging on, you might not have noticed some recent good news out there. Here’s three pieces of news that show the power of North Carolinians’ involvement in public policy debates.
August 5th – The NC Utilities Commission reduced the amount of pre-construction money Duke Energy could spend on the proposed Lee Nuclear Station. The Commission noted uncertainty surrounding consumer electricity demand, uncertainty concerning the effects the Fukushima disaster will have on new plant construction and fuel storage costs and the uncertainty of whether or not the General Assembly will pass Super Construction Work in Progress (super CWIP) legislation in 2012. According to Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers’ testimony before the Commission earlier this year, without super CWIP the utility could not build the nuclear plant. Many groups across the state have opposed any pre-operation rate hike, given the enormous financial risks associated with building nuclear plants. As a result, the Commission has dealt a serious blow to Duke’s nuclear ambition and recognized that it must first and foremost protect ratepayers.
July 29th – In the final day of the reconvened General Assembly, the NC House of Representatives did not vote to attempt to override the governor’s veto of the controversial Energy Jobs Act – S709. The Senate had already over rode the veto earlier in the month. This legislation would have required the governor to develop a strategy with Virginia and South Carolina to bring offshore oil and gas drilling to our coast. It would also have moved our state closer to drilling for gas in shale deposits – known as fracking. Thanks to thousands of activists around the state, at least for now, the drill has been chilled.
July 27th – Governor Beverly Perdue announced that PCS Phosphate voluntarily abandoned its plans to build a sulfur plant in Morehead City. This came after residents and community officials found out the deal was nearly done with little or no public knowledge or involvement. That’s when all hell broke loose and the company withdrew its plans. Unfortunately the Governor said she would work with the company to find a more acceptable location (translation – a site far away from wealthy folks). Stay tuned!