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While the General Assembly is currently focused on smoothing the road to drill for natural gas in North Carolina, a new report shows the economic value clean energy has brought to our state over the past five years.

The report was prepared by Research Triangle Institute and LaCapra Associates.

Some of the key findings:

Clean energy programs created or retained over 21,000 jobs.

The clean energy industry and government incentives spurred $1.4 billion in project investments.

These projects contributed about $1.7 billion to the gross state product.

Clean energy and energy efficiency projects saved 8.2 million megawatt hours of energy.

For every $1 spent on renewable projects, $1.90 was generated for that investment. For energy efficiency projects, $1.67 was generated for that investment.

Finally, rate payers benefit from renewables and energy efficiency programs.  A typical NC residential customer saved $.50 per month last year and that is expected to only rise if our state continues to lead in this industry.

Earlier this year the Washington Post reported that the conservative Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) were considering a strategy to repeal North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES).  Our state has the only RES legislation in the south. This legislation requires utilities to  hold a portion of their energy portfolio in renewables.   This legislation and incentive programs are the reason for the healthiness of the renewable energy industry.  As the governor and legislature focus on job creation and economic development, this part of the energy sector now has a strong and proven track record and should be encouraged to grow.

 

 

 

 

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After last night’s votes to slash unemployment benefits and deny Medicaid to people in need (and the follow-up votes that will take place today), you might have thought there would have already been enough wackiness for one week on Jones Street.

WRONG!

Actually, the fun is just beginning! Check out the following from the good people at the Sierra Club to see what’s on tap for tomorrow:

“John Droz, former real estate agent, fellow of the right-wing American Traditions Institute, and science advisor to NC-20 (the coastal group which backed notorious Sea Level Rise bill last year) will be addressing invited members of both chambers this Wednesday at 11:00 am in the auditorium at the General Assembly.   Read More

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As expected, Republican members of the North Carolina House Finance Committee quickly approved a massive overhaul of state unemployment insurance law this morning. In just over an hour and half, the Committee explained, debated, considered amendments to and received limited public comment on a 68-page measure that imposes the most draconian cuts to unemployment insurance that experts believe has ever happened in the United States. Gluttons for punishment can watch a video the whole embarrassing show at WRAL.com.

There were so many errors, untruths and offensive moments during  the meeting that it’s hard to know where to begin in describing it. Here are just a few: Read More

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Mitch SetzerIf you haven’t had the pleasure of watching the folks now running the North Carolina General Assembly in action (like House Finance Committte co-chair Rep. Mitch Setzer – pictured at left) and have a little time at mid-morning today, check out WRAL.com at around 9:15. You’ll get to see what it looks and sounds like when a committee with 50 or so members tries to digest and amend a 68 page bill that will impose the most draconian cuts in unemployment insurance in modern U.S. history — all in about an hour and a half.

Who knows? Maybe they’ll even let members off the public speak for a minute or two each before they jam the thing through on a voice vote.

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Dan Crawford of the N.C. League of Conservation Voters distributed the following statement this morning: 

RALEIGH, N.C. – In anticipation of the NC General Assembly’s return on January 30, an analysis of the 2012 Conservation Legislative Scorecard reveals a disturbing trend in regard to the new leadership and the environment. The scorecard published by NC League of Conservation Voters gives each state legislator a score of 0 to 100 based on his or her votes on key environmental bills during each legislative session.

The newly appointed leaders of House committees affecting the environment earned an average of 28% in the 2011-12 session, well below the overall House average of 42%, itself down from 67% in the 2009-10 session. Key roles in the House include the Environment Committee, the Transportation Committee, the Public Utilities Committee, the Regulatory Reform Committee, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural and Economic Resources, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation.

More disturbing than the House scores, Read More