Recognizing the urgency of our climate crisis, Gov. Cooper signed an executive order last year which called on the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to create a plan to move North Carolina away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future. On Friday, DEQ released a draft of that plan.
To craft the plan required by Cooper’s Executive Order 80, DEQ has spent nearly a year taking input from the public and stakeholders like NCLCV and other environmental and clean energy groups.
DEQ Secretary Michael Regan says the plan “includes consensus policy recommendations on the key changes necessary to combat climate change, create economic growth and modernize our power grid.” A DEQ news release further describes the plan as laying out “a path for the state to become a leader in clean energy innovation, with goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create economic opportunities and foster affordability.”
The release names three key policy recommendations:
- Modernizing the utility incentives, tools, and planning process
- By 2030, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by 60-70% below 2005 levels
- Reducing the energy burden of low-income residents.
A public comment period on the draft plan is open through Monday, September 9. The final plan, with any modifications following public comment, is to be delivered to the governor on October 1. Tell DEQ what you think about their clean energy plan here.
“We applaud Governor Cooper for taking action to reduce carbon pollution in the face of the harm suffered by North Carolina residents and businesses from increasingly intense storms and flooding events,” said Gudrun Thompson, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Moving the state away from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy sources is integral to lowering carbon pollution and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. Now is the time for bold action to address ongoing climate change, which affects all North Carolinians but disproportionately harms the most vulnerable. We’ll review the plan and look forward to working with the state towards the goal of a better future for North Carolinians.”
WRAL points out that several of the proposed actions require changes in state law. Recognizing that the current General Assembly majority has been hostile to sound energy policy and climate action, NCLCV will be working to grow its Green Caucus into a majority caucus in next year’s elections, so that in 2021 there is a legislature ready to enact this plan in full force.
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