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 class action lawsuits, representing thousands of North Carolinians, filed vs Chemours over PFAS contamination

Thousands of people in North Carolina are suing ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

WASHINGTON — After the Republican National Convention pulled out of Charlotte earlier this year due [...]

[Editor's note: As a part of an ongoing effort to help North Carolina voters become better info [...]

The number of uninsured children in America increased by 726,000 between 2016 and 2019, reversing a [...]

Land ownership records, experiences elsewhere raise big questions as to where benefits from controve [...]

If the Trump Administration and a group of 18 states convince the Supreme Court to strike down the A [...]

In the 16 years I’ve lived in this exact spot, I’ve been no stranger to disaster. It’s been two year [...]

It’s been seven months since the COVID-19 pandemic turned life upside down in North Carolina, but it [...]

[Editor’s note: The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on President Trump’s nomination o [...]