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Renewable Energy Requirements Weakened in NC House Vote

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Environmental regulations were rolled back on multiple fronts last night at the legislature.

The North Carolina House voted to weaken the state’s law requiring utilities get a certain amount of their power from renewable energy.  The 2007 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard requires utilities like Duke Energy to get 6 percent of their power from renewable sources, increasing to 10 percent by 2018, and 12.5 percent by 2021.  WRAL reports the amendment to a regulatory reform bill would cap the standard at 6 percent and would also repeal an 80 percent property tax break for solar farms.  The Amendment was run by Representative Charles Jeter of Mecklenburg County and supported by Representative Mike Hager of Rutherford.  Hager has tried multiple times to roll back the renewable energy standard.  An effort to repeal the law failed just last week in a House committee.  Hager formerly worked for Duke Energy, the company that stands to be impacted most from the law’s repeal.  

Meanwhile, a scaled back version of a bill rolling back the 1971 State Environmental Policy Act passed the House, according to the News and Observer of Raleigh.  Representative Chuck McGrady, Republican of Henderson County, says the bill amounts to a repeal of the law which subjects projects of a certain size to environmental review.  The original reform effort set the threshold to any project of 20 million dollars or more.  That was cut to 10 million dollars in the version that passed last night.  It now heads to the Senate.  

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