Environment, Governor Roy Cooper, Legislature

In signing wind moratorium and executive order promoting wind energy, Gov. Cooper tries to have cake, eat it too

(Illustration: Creative Commons)

House Bill 589, a promising renewable energy bill until it was saddled with a last-minute wind farm moratorium, is now law. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill today.

From the governor’s press release:

A strong renewable energy industry is good for our environment and our economy. This bill is critical for the future of significant increases in our already booming solar industry. I strongly oppose the ugly, last-minute, politically motivated wind moratorium. However, this fragile and hard fought solar deal will be lost if I veto this legislation and that veto is sustained.

However, the governor softened the blow of the 18-month wind farm moratorium by also enacting an Executive Order No. 11, which Cooper said in a press release, “directs DEQ to continue recruiting wind energy investments and to move forward with all of the behind the scenes work involved with bringing wind energy projects online, including reviewing permits and conducting pre-application review for prospective sites. I want wind energy facilities to come online quickly when this moratorium expires so our economy and our environment can continue to benefit.”

The order also directs the NC Department of Environmental Quality to work with the Department of Administration to conduct a feasibility study regarding renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on state-owned land and property.

The renewables bill was a product of year-long negotiations among utilities and the solar industry. Not until the final days of the session did Sen. Harry Brown, a longtime opponent of wind energy, tack a moratorium onto the end of the bill. He and other wind energy opponents claimed that the farms, with their turbines as tall as 600 feet, would conflict with military training exercises. However, no one currently serving with the military with the authority to negotiate those conflicts publicly spoke against the moratorium.

The moratorium would have lasted for four years, if not for pushback from Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, who represents several northeastern counties, where these farms would be built.

Check Also

Two likely sources of 1,4-Dioxane identified as DEQ finds extremely high levels of compound in Reidsville wastewater

Discharge from the Reidsville wastewater treatment plant recently ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

In 39 days, some children and teenagers under the age of 18 will no longer be charged in the adult c [...]

Common Cause released a report today that shows drawing electoral boundaries using only data for cit [...]

Recurring low-performing schools can get fresh starts under the state’s Restart school reform model, [...]

North Carolina Republicans are using procedural arguments to dismiss the relevance of the U.S. House [...]

In any discussion of North Carolina politics and policy debates, it’s hard to overstate the footprin [...]

The post The Spineless Dead-Horseman appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

When the journalist Michael Kinsley wrote in 1984 that a gaffe “is when a politician tells the truth [...]

Tonight's Democratic presidential debate will be dominated by two urgent issues: the House of R [...]