Members of the Senate Finance Committee advanced legislation Wednesday to rollback the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.
Under that landmark legislation  passed in 2007, North Carolina electric utilities were required to generate 3% of their energy needs through renewable resources, with that percentage increasing every three years.
Senator Andrew Brock’s proposed bill this session would cap the renewable energy requirement at 3%, with the mandate ending in 2023.
Farmers along with representatives of the Pork Council and Farm Bureau urged lawmakers not to alter or weaken the program that encouraged innovation.
A vice president for Murphy-Brown , the livestock production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest producer of pork products, stressed that backing away from the clean energy plan would only sour investments and partnerships built over the last six years:
“I am telling you that the investors, the bankers, and the technology providers have sent a very clear signal to us – without Senate Bill 3, you won’t see us again,” said Don Butler. “You would be jerking the rug from under those people who have invested tens of millions of dollars.”
Senator Bob Rucho said they would have more time to study those concerns in the Senate Commerce Committee. Senate Bill 365  advanced on a voice vote, with Republicans rejecting calls by Democrats for an individual headcount recording how each member voted.
Click below to watch Butler’s appeal and hear lawmakers vote: