Commentary

Editorial: Legislators’ attack on Cooper over pipeline fund is bogus

This morning’s Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com minces few words in lambasting the manufactured controversy that state legislative leaders have been flogging in recent days regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the mitigation fund that Gov. Cooper negotiated with pipeline developers.

As you will recall, Republicans and their conservative advocacy group allies have been trying to ascribe all kinds of dark motives to Cooper’s efforts and have passed legislation that purports to reallocate the fund. (As an amusing aside, it should be noted that the bill to take this action — a bill the GOP said was necessitated by a supposed lack of adequate process in Cooper’s negotiations — was itself rammed through without any meaningful process). Here’s the conclusion to “Conjured pipeline controversy hatched to brighten GOP’s cloudy election-year prospects?”:

“In reality this is a huge, politically-motivated over-reaction. This is a manufactured election-year tempest, stirred up by a bitter ex-governor, a political research operation and the legislative leadership. During Jan. 29, and Feb. 6 radio interviews with the John Locke Foundation’s Rick Henderson, former Gov. Pat McCrory hinted, with innuendo but without proof, that the mitigation fund was a “payoff” in return for a state permit and also was a ‘potential slush fund.’

The comments were echoed two days later in a kangaroo-court of a legislative committee meeting.

A diverse group of community leaders in eastern North Carolina, talking and working with the pipeline developers, came up with the idea of a mitigation fund.

The last thing that Dominion Energy of Virginia, developer of the project along with Duke Energy, wants is to get embroiled in an extracurricular political mud match.

The pipeline developers should clearly demand that the money be spent according to the agreement. If not, they should nix the deal.

If legislative Republicans and the bitter ex-governor persist in their harping, Cooper should tear up the agreement and demand the General Assembly come up with the $57.8 million they’ve now promised the people of eastern North Carolina.

No doubt, Cooper would gladly take the blame for trying to help the people of his state. He’s looking to help eastern North Carolina grow and prosper. It is the legislative leaders who can’t see past a desperate effort to brighten a political party’s cloudy election-year prospects.”

One Comment


  1. richard manyes

    March 4, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Of course, the money is coming from ratepayers anyway – but you simply will not read the MOU – will you? It states, quite explicitly, that IF the pipeline company fails to get a permit, or if it loses a permit even after receiving it – then Governor Cooper must repay the money to the pipeline company. But – under whose control is the agency responsible for issuing and rescinding permits? Correct – Gov Cooper.

    Virginia’s MOU had the money going directly to the third party mitigation groups – and they would be responsible for repaying the money if permits were not obtained or maintained. Totally understandable and above board. Why did Gov Cooper change that arrangement? Because he didn’t trust the legislature? VA’s legislature is also a different party than the Gov’s mansion.

    Cooper would have benefitted from the deals he would put together with the money after receiving it – who knows, he may have even gotten himself another solar farm.

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