Editorial: Republican legislature should appreciate the economic advantage of solar jobs

Journal Editorial Board - When the General Assembly mandated electrical production from renewable sources in 2007, North Carolina had a tiny solar industry – mostly small rooftop solar arrays feeding a few watts into the grid. Six years later, as legislators consider repealing or weakening the mandate that state-based utilities derive a growing percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, that once-infant solar power industry has grown by 75,000 percent. North Carolina is now the fifth-leading state in the union for solar power and will climb into fourth place this year, sources told The News & Observer. Before legislators change the policies under which this industry operates, they should understand that they are dealing with more than a scattering of tinkerers.

House bill threatens NC solar boom

Editorial - Raleigh News & Observer - Last year Republicans in the General Assembly, as part of a bill on coastal management, tried to decree how high global warming may make the seas rise. Now several GOP lawmakers are trying to stop the sun. It’s not as dramatic as freezing ol’ Sol in his daily passage, but it could end the state’s impressively successful efforts to harness the sun as a source of energy. Solar power is booming in North Carolina. As The News & Observer’s John Murawski reported last Sunday, the state ranks fifth in the nation for solar energy production and is projected by the Solar Energy Industries Association to move up to fourth place this year. In 2012, North Carolina had more utility scale solar projects (21) than any state in the nation.
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Fracking wastewater poses a risk

Editorial - Raleigh News & Observer - The news on fracking just keeps getting worse. As Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly rush to open the state to energy companies eager to mine natural gas reserves believed trapped in shale rock formations deep underground, they seem to be stumbling into reality a little at a time. Fracking is the procedure used to extract that gas, and basically it means pumping in huge amounts of water and chemicals to smash that shale. But the wastewater from the process has to go somewhere, and now it turns out that somewhere might include North Carolina’s precious and fragile coastal counties. Potentially jeopardizing the state’s most valued natural resource and the bedrock, so to speak, of the tourism industry is foolhardy.

NC's coastal counties could get fracking waste if ban lifted

By John Murawski — Forty years ago, when North Carolina banned using deep wells to permanently dump industrial waste, some thought the issue had been decided for good. Now state lawmakers who want to turn North Carolina into the nation’s next fracking hotspot are reopening the case for injecting brines and toxins deep underground. This time, the proposal is shifting the fracking debate from the center of the state, where the energy exploration and economic benefits would occur, to tourism-dependent coastal communities where the disposal wells would have to be drilled.

Editorial: Fracking advancement reckless

From The Daily Reflector - State lawmakers could have taken a cautious approach last year when legislation to allow natural gas exploration in North Carolina came before them. The process used to extract the energy source — hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — has yet to be fully vetted for safety, but the Legislature approved a bill to press ahead with authorization, choosing economic potential over environmental protection. Now the General Assembly appears poised to go one step further as it considers a bill that would erode the modest protections included in last year’s legislation and provide incentives to companies looking to drill here. While North Carolina should strive to develop an energy economy that creates jobs and helps the nation toward independence, lawmakers’ approach to this issue is both reckless and foolish.

Fracking Bill Gains Tentative Approval In Senate

(via WUNC) By JESSICA JONES - State lawmakers have tentatively approved a measure that would launch the permitting process for natural gas fracking in North Carolina. House legislators passed the bill this afternoon. It would remove a previous requirement that state lawmakers give final approval before the permitting process could begin. Republican Senator Buck Newton is one of the bill's sponsors.
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Energy Bill Would End Fracking Moratorium

By John Murawski and Craig Jarvis — RALEIGH — Senate Republicans are pushing to make North Carolina more welcoming to energy companies with a bill that requires environmental regulators to promote business opportunities for energy companies they oversee. The legislation, introduced Monday, will get its first airing Wednesday before the Senate Finance Committee. Its sponsors say it will attract thousands of new jobs and generate billions of dollars for the state. The legislation would eliminate some fracking safeguards that were adopted into law last year. The safeguards were key to getting enough Democrats on board to override then-Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a bill that allowed fracking to advance in the state. One of the key provisions was that fracking would not become legal until the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission wrote safety rules and the legislature took a separate vote on those rules.
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Senate Bill 10 and What You Need to Know

This week, the North Carolina Senate passed Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), legislation that would purge all sitting members of key commissions such as the Environmental Management Commission (EMC), Coastal Resources Commission (CRC), the Utilities Commission, and many others. Among the changes, the careful balance of interests among environmental, scientific, and business representatives is completely eliminated on the CRC and the EMC, two of the most important commissions. This is a dangerous precedent, one that could encourage pay to play politics for board appointments.

Press Release: Partisan Politics Takes Priority Over Process in Senate Rules Committee


For Immediate Release

February 5, 2013

Contact: Dustin Chicurel-Bayard, 609-529-7145,

Partisan Politics Takes Priority Over Process in Senate Rules Committee

Senate Bill 10 Removes Sitting Members of Numerous Boards and Commissions

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Senate GOP seeks to sweep oversight boards

By Laura Leslie - Senate Republican leaders are moving quickly on a proposal to fire all current members of key oversight and advisory boards. Introduced in Senate Rules Committee Tuesday morning, Senate Bill 10 would effectively fire all members of the Utilities Commission, Environmental Management Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, Lottery Commission and Wildlife Resources Commission.
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