May 23, 2013

North Carolina Definitively Defeats Effort to Repeal Renewable Energy Policy

A bill to repeal the US state of North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Standard (REPS) has stalled in a committee of the North Carolina House of Representatives, failing to win the support of some members of the Republican Party.

A companion bill, S 365, has stalled in the Senate Commerce Committee, after being passed out the Senate Finance Committee through a questionable vote. Both bills failed to meet the May 16th, 2013 “cross-over” deadline for this session of the legislature, and thus are dead in the water.

Support by Republicans key North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA, Raleigh, North Carolina) has stressed the bipartisan nature of the opposition to the bills. H 298 and S 365 were part of a national effort to repeal renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in 19 states by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina, US) has reported that members of right-wing advocacy group Americans for Prosperity (Arlington, Virginia, US) attended the committee and expressed anger at Republican legislators' refusal to bring S 365 to a vote.

Dissent within the Republican Party?

The effort's defeat may be symptomatic of a lack of consensus within the Republican Party over renewable energy policies.

Republican politicians at the federal level have fiercely attacked President Obama (D) over his clean energy policies, as part of a broader attack on policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions and environmental law in general.

However, policies to support renewable energy at the state level enjoy the support of some Republicans, including governors, legislators, mayors and regulators in North Carolina, California, Georgia and New Jersey.

At the federal level Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) criticized former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney in 2012 for calling for a repeal of the production tax credit, an important support for the wind industry.

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