BREAKING: North Carolina legislators reject ALEC’s fossil fuel funded attack on clean energy

by Connor Gibson

April 24, 2013

Today, those employed by North Carolina’s clean energy industries and anyone concerned about global climate change can celebrate the apparent downfall of an attack on renewable energy incentives.

NC Representative Mike Hager, a former engineer for coal-burning utility giant Duke Energy and a member of the fossil fuel-promoting American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) watched members of theNC House utilities committee vote downhis bill to freeze incentives for clean energy 18-3. While the bill technically isn’t dead yet, it will be tough for Rep. Hager to recover this fumble.

The incentive targeted by Rep. Hager is North Carolina’s renewable portfolio standard, or RPS. The NC RPS requires utilities to generate increasing amounts of electricity from cleaner sources of energy like wind and solar (ideally–the law is far from perfect but has been an important policy in helping North Carolina’s rapid growth of wind and solar energy projects).

We may still see Rep. Mike Hager or other ALEC legislators try other methods to attack subsidies for clean energy before the year is over.

ALEC has zero model bills to repeal incentives for coal, oil or gas companies, and rolling back state renewable energy incentives is one of ALEC’s national priorities for the next couple years. ALEC’s energy company members like Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Duke Energy, and Peabody coal are hungry for a anti-renewable trophy after suffering a defeat in Kansas and now North Carolina.

While ALEC’s anti-RPS bill was voted down in North Carolina today, ALEC legislators in Ohio are working to introduce a similar bill, comparing the renewable incentives to Joseph Stalin’s five year plan.

Click to read PR Watch briefing on the State Policy NetworkWhile we hope the assault on North Carolina is over, this is not the end of the nationally-coordinated attacks on renewables by ALEC and its allies like the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and Grover Norquist, and the other groups coordinatedby the State Policy Network.

ALEC and the fossil fuel-fundedHeartland Institute wrote a template bill that became Rep. Hager’s attempt to roll back North Carolina’s renewable portfolio standard, or RPS. The dirty bill was predicated upon false data promoted by ALEC’s allies in the State Policy Network, like the Koch-funded Beacon Hill Institute report containing “fundamental flaws,” and think tanks like Art Pope’s Civitas Institute and John Locke Foundation that have denied or downplayed the seriousness of global warming.

ThinkProgress has more on today’s update from North Carolina. For more on the attacks on renewable energy standards in almost every state that has passed such incentives, see Greentech Media and the Pulitzer Prize winning Inside Climate News.

Connor Gibson

By Connor Gibson

Connor Gibson does research for Greenpeace's Investigations team. He focuses on polluting industries, their front groups and PR operatives, particularly focusing on the Koch Brothers.

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