We would like to thank the following members who cast a pro-people, not pro-polluter, vote by rejecting HB630…
Instead of honoring the more than 8,000 comments citizens submitted addressing how to clean up North Carolina’s coal ash mess, the NC Senate – in cahoots with Governor McCrory and Duke Energy – drafted legislation that allows the corporate polluter to further delay or disregard cleanup efforts.
However, 36 legislators voted to reject HB630, better known as the “Duke Energy Protection Act.” 36 elected officials recognized that this bill was not the right next step to address coal ash. The Legislature could still help provide clean, safe drinking water to communities impacted by coal ash contamination without giving the decision-authority back to Duke Energy, the very culprit behind the contamination.
We would like to thank the following members who cast a pro-people, not pro-polluter, vote by rejecting HB630: Senators Chaudhuri; Randleman; Robinson; Woodard; and Representatives Adcock; Ager; Baskerville; Bradford; Brockman; Cotham; Dollar; Fisher; Gill; D. Hall; K. Hall; L. Hall; Harrison; Insko; Jackson; Jeter; Jordan; Luebke; Malone; G. Martin; McGrady; Meyer; Michaux; Murphy; Pendleton; Queen; Reives; Salmon; Setzer; Sgro; Tine; and B. Turner.
We cannot take for granted the consistent environmental leadership of Rep. Pricey Harrison. During the 2016 session, she was the most outspoken opponent of HB630. Moreover, Rep. Harrison proposed to provide safe drinking water to families negatively affected by Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds to show that Duke Energy could provide clean water to North Carolina citizens without also receiving special treatment. It would be remiss to praise Rep. Harrison without also mentioning her perfect lifetime score of 100%.
Making her third consecutive appearance in this section of the Legislative Scorecard, Senator Wade solidifies her reputation as one of the most anti-environmental members of the General Assembly. As Co-Chair of two Senate environmental committees, Senator Wade is in a prime position to launch attacks on clean water and air. This year, Senator Wade:
Sponsored a bill restricting the state health department’s ability to notify residents if their water becomes contaminated with toxins if no federal standard exists, which is quite a long list;
Supported legislation to eliminate energy efficiency standards, restrict state agencies in creating public health and safety rules, and terminate the state’s successful electronics recycling program; and
Rushed an “Environmental Amends” bill through the Senate that sought to relax storm water standards, eliminate critical beach nourishment compatibility assessments, and allow landfills to spray liquefied garbage waste into the air without a permit.
Senator Wade’s actions demonstrate her complete disregard for our natural resources and public health. Her aggressive attempts to repeal vital environmental protections leave us baffled and frustrated.
Senator Berger has set the tone for his Chamber, and it is one radically unfriendly to our air, land, and water.
Under his leadership, the NC Senate went off the deep end in 2016 with multiple attempts to repeal critical environmental protections.
With his nod of approval, the Senate inserted policy language into its budget designed to undermine scientifically-based clean water solutions. Senators also passed legislation designed to cripple the state’s wind energy industry at the expense of North Carolina’s poorest counties. Berger has condoned such an anti-environmental culture, which allows leadership to run rampant with irresponsible and irrational “regulatory reform” bills. Senator Berger shows zero concern for protecting clean air and water for North Carolina citizens. That is not the leader North Carolina needs or wants.
It is time for elected officials, especially those who proved their pro-conservation stances over the years, to step back up and re-prioritize our environment beginning in 2017.
Starting in 2011, defending environmental values in the NC General Assembly became a starkly partisan issue, despite North Carolinians of all parties (or no party) needing safe water to drink and clean air to breathe. NCLCV’s Legislative Scorecard reflected this shift between the two major parties as Republican scores dropped precipitously and Democrat scores increased. However, we want to highlight that several former pro-conservation champions are now blocking progress on expanding clean, renewable energy.
Additionally, they fail to heed the best interests of their constituents by supporting bills like HB630, the “Duke Energy Protection Act.” It is time for elected officials, especially those who proved their pro-conservation stances over the years, to step back up and re-prioritize our environment beginning in 2017.