NC's Green New Deal the anatomy of a betrayal | Beaufort County Now | Another win for special interests and a loss for We The People

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 By John Steed

The key piece of North Carolina's very own Green New Deal has become law. It is even more severe than  the European Union's similar legislation.  It will raise our electric rates very significantly, and make our electric grid less reliable, as it has done everywhere such legislation has been adopted. It embraces the policies of Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocassio-Cortez, and Joe Biden, while gutting the America First policies of President Trump.  It is a complete surrender to progressive Governor Roy Cooper, by the establishment Republican leadership in the legislature.

Too few North Carolinians know it has even happened because it was accomplished by shady backroom manuvers in the General Assembly designed to keep voters in the dark and to make a mockery of the concept of legislative transparency.  It shows the unsavory level to which special interests have too much sway over legislation in North Carolina.

House Bill 951 started out as a one page bill with a worthy goal, encouraging efficient modular nuclear reactors for producing electricity in our state.  It came out of the legislature as a draconian mandate, tracking the proposals of Governor Cooper, that requires North Carolina to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2030.  In comparision, the EU legislation passed earlier this year that is already wrecking havoc on European energy markets and dramatically raising electric rates only requires a 50% reduction by 2030.

While HB951 sat in committee, backroom meetings of self-described “stakeholders” were conducted to plot a vast expansion of expensive and unreliable wind and solar electricity in North Carolina.  This special interest cabal included representatives of “woke” utility monopoly Duke Energy and of wind and solar energy producers.  It did not include electric consumers, either residential  or commercial.  This committee never put forward a bill through the usual legislative process, but its product was clearly apparent in two major and almost total last minute rewrites of HB951, once in the House and once again in the Senate.

HB951 was asssigned to the House Committee on Energy and Public Utilities, co-chaired by Representatives Szoka and Arp on May 12, 2021.  Arp was the original sponsor of HB951. Szoka is the “Mr. Solar” of the House GOP caucus.  On July 13, the committee rewrote the bill to 48 pages, grafting on language from the special interest “stakeholder” backroom meetings.   As rewritten, the bill was clearly a Green New Deal vehicle, as it required premature closing of six coal fired power plants, to be replaced by some gas fired plants and some wind and solar, with the very substantial cost of that transition dumped upon the utility customers.  With no public hearings on the new language, known as a “committee substitute” it was sent to the House floor and rammed through its second reading on the following day, and the third reading the day after that, clearing the House on July 15.  House Speaker Tim Moore conned several conservatives into voting for it by telling them that it would not go anywhere in the Senate anyway, and the Senate was opposed to the wind and solar provisions.

In the Senate, HB951 was assigned on August 9 to the Committee on Agriculture, Energy, and Environment.  Two members of that committee are Sen. Paul Newton, a former Duke Energy executive, and Sen. Bob Steinberg, the “Mr. Solar (and Wind)” of the Senate.  The committee did hold a public hearing on the language that came over from the House, and representatives of both residential electric consumers and business / industry electric consumers spoke out against the bill, objecting to the major rate increases it would cause.  The committee members were apparently tone deaf.

On October 5, the Senate committee approved another almost total rewrite as its own committee substitute reducing HB 951 to 10 pages but going even more extreme in the climate alarmist direction. This rewrite is also regarded as a likely product of the backroom “stakeholder” meetings.  It not only imposed the draconican requirement of a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, but it created a “Performance Based Regulation” process that made it quicker and easier for electric utility monopolies like Duke Energy to raise their rates.  This new language was publicly embraced by both Senate President Phil Berger and progressive Governor Roy Cooper.  House Speaker Tim Moore also endorsed it.  Like the House, the Senate committee did not hold a public hearing on their new language or even give much public notice.

Sen. Jim Perry worked the Republican members of the Senate, who should have known better,  to vote for this now far left climate alarmist bill.  That it would financially hurt North Carolina citzens and businesses did not seem to faze many of them.  The day after the committee substitute emerged, it passed both its second and third readings in the same day, October 6.  It went back to the House which agreed to the Senate version on October 7, without even bothering to set up the usual conference committee to work out differences with the Senate..

The “committee substitute” process was badly abused in both the House and Senate to keep ordinary citizens in the dark on this bill that will have a huge negative impact on them.  That is not the first time this process has been used that way when the leadership wants to ram something through that they anticipate GOP party activists and base will strongly object to.  The repeal of the bathroom privacy legislation known as HB2 is another prime example of this extremely corrupt process. The fast tracking of this bill kept the public in the dark.  What was done to push this bill though smacks of Nancy Pelosi's swamp in Washington, DC, but in this case it is Phil Berger and Tim Moore's Raleigh swamp. Were they doing the bidding of “woke” Duke Energy, or progressive Gov. Roy Cooper, or of the climate alarmist movement?  They certainly were not looking out for North Carolina electric consumers or the GOP base.  President Trump got America out of this very same rat's  nest when he took us out of the Paris Climate Accord, but Berger and Moore put NC right back in it.

When one looks at campaign finance records of the establishment Republicans who played roles in this debacle, one thing stands out.  Through their campaign committees, they were all on the take from members of that backroom “stakeholders” cabal.  Take Senator Jim Perry of Kinston, for example. He received the maximum contribution allowed by law, $5,400, from the main Duke Energy political action committee plus $2,000 more from another Duke PAC. On top of that, Perry received another $2,000 from a PAC representing solar and wind companies.

These legislators should have known what they are doing to North Carolina after the CO2 reduction plan called for is implemented in late 2022.  Pushing wind and solar in Europe has seen massive rate increases, and they just keep coming.  Ask a German.  They are now paying three times as much in residential electric rates as we pay in North Carolina, and those major rate increases roll around like clockwork.  That will be coming here to North Carolina in 2022 thanks to the corrupt passage of  HB951.

 

           


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Comments

( November 16th, 2021 @ 11:50 am )
 
Mr Steed:

TY for your concerns and good commentary.

FYI, prior to HB951 being voted on, I wrote up a detailed Critique of it, and emailed it to every NC Republican legislator. Here is the url .

Some Republican legislators stood up to their leadership (e.g. Larry Pittman, George Cleveland, etc.).

However, despite my attempt to get citizens to speak to their representatives about this, not enough did.

For more info, please send me an email at "aaprjohn" at "northnet" dot "org".
( November 10th, 2021 @ 8:30 am )
 
The leaders of the legislature have been missing in action on immigration issues at a time other states are crafting innovative solutions to Biden's bad policies. But this is even worse as they have gone over to the enemy on these idiotic climate demands. None of us wants the higher electric rates these policies will cause.
( November 9th, 2021 @ 9:28 pm )
 
One point that is important to this sandbagging of the GOP base is that several Solyndra Republicans, those who are go-fers to the solar grifters were heavily involved with that backroom stakeholders group, led by Rep. John Szoka (RINO-Cumberland). These Solyndra Republicans were the bridge between the special interests and the GOP leadership and are particular bad actors in this debacle.

Before blaming all committee members, one should look to see if they attended the committee meetings where the committee substitutes were adopted. Those records should exist. With many scheduling conflicts, it is common for some to not be in attendance. Unfortunately, records are rarely kept of who votes how in these committee meetings.

When the leadership moved these substitutes, they moved them fast and with the least notice possible. They suckered many who would not normally be expected to vote for such leftwing garbage. I talked to one usually solidly conservative Senator who was crowing about how they had stopped the solar / wind stuff that came over from the House. He apparently did not comprehend that the CO2 reduction mandate run through Cooper's appointees actually made it much worse. The fast track - 3 days from when the Senate committee adopted their last minute substitute to final passage - left no time for legislators to research what was going on or for constituents to let them know we did not want this Green New Deal garbage. That was all planned, to be sure.

House Speaker Tim Moore got temporary support from some conservatives by misrepresenting what the Senate would do with the bill and by promising to put conservative on the House - Senate conference committee. Since it appears that there was never any intent to ever appoint such a committee, and one was never appointed, this was another scam to temporarily get some key conservatives on board at least to get the bill over to the Senate where the worst of the dirty work was done.

The Freedom Caucus was indeed Missing in Action on this, the most left wing bill ever adopted by the NC General Assembly. Its chairman and his wife had bouts with Covid where both were hospitalized and both had complications, and were thus out of action during much of the key time period, and whatever mechanism the Freedom Caucus had for secondary leadership to take over apparently did not work out.

I wish I could see some way to undo this terrible legislation, but as long as Cooper is governor and we still have Solyndra Republicans in the legislature, I don't see a path to do so. Our state's electric consumers are just screwed and it was RINOs who did it to us.
( November 8th, 2021 @ 9:57 am )
 
I suppose if we encounter anyone believing in the existence of a North Carolina House Freedom Caucus, we had better slap some water on their face and let them know its a mirage.
( November 7th, 2021 @ 3:33 pm )
 
Those primarily at fault in this sell out to the left wing Democrats are the GOP legislative leadership and the members of those committees that did the committee substitutes.

As to leadership, in the Senate that would be Berger, Hise, Harrington, McInnis, and Perry (Jim Perry of Kinston, who is now in Beaufort County's Senate district). In the House, that would be: Moore, Stevens, Bell, B. Jones, and Hardister.

On the Senate Agriculture, Energy, and Environment Committee that would be B. Jackson, Barnes, Burgin, Craven, Jarvis, McInnis, Sanderson, Newton, Proctor, and Steinberg. Also on that committee is Edwards, but he voted against the bill.

On the House Energy and Public Utilities Committee, that would be Arp, Szoka, Watford, Pare, Miller, Bell, Brisson, Dixon, D. Hall, Hastings, Howard, Humphries, B. Jones, Riddell, Saine, Sauls, Setzer, Strickland, and Winslow.

These are the "Republicans" who screwed NC electric consumers to the wall to do the bidding of the climate alarmists and "woke" Duke Energy. They all deserve primaries.
( November 6th, 2021 @ 3:23 pm )
 
This is a really horrible piece of legislation. It fits right in with the globalist "Great Reset" and is part of that agenda. It is a repudiation of the America First agenda. It will soak us all with inflated electric bills. We need to replace those responsible for doing this to us in the primaries. It looks like Beaufort County will get a crack at that RINO Senator Jim Perry who helped pass this legislation because he has been drawn into our Senate district. We need someone to run against him. He is no different than a Democrat.
( November 6th, 2021 @ 11:45 am )
 
Oh the way of bad legislation:
A) The House vote I referred to gets it started;
B) Then, it breezes through the Republican majority Senate with great bi-partisanship and a 42 aye and 7 noe vote;
C) And, back to the House this Frankenstein monstrosity comes and 37 Democrats are now all for it;
D) 3 House Republican members stand firm and vote against it again (Brody, Pittman, Torbett);
E) 2 House Republicans vote for it after after initially voting against it;
F) 5 House Republicans vote against it while 4 of them initially voted for it;
G) 7 House Republicans are absent from the final vote (6 of them initially voted for it and 1 was absent for both votes).

Thus, the anatomy of a betrayal.

What do I get from this? I'm surely going to miss Pittman.
( November 6th, 2021 @ 7:46 am )
 
This idiot legislation will clobber all of us. It is bad enough that Biden policies have pushed gas prices so high. Now we have RINOs acting to jack up our electric rates to virtue signal to the far left. Those actively involved in this I would never vote for, not in a primary or a general election. Those that even went along with it, I would also never vote for in a primary and would so all I could to defeat them. They are Democrats in Drag, and more specifically they are AOC without the dress.
( November 5th, 2021 @ 9:32 pm )
 
Charles, I share your disgust at this fiasco. It is worth remembering that AOC's Chief of Staff openly said that the green new deal was not really about the environment but was actually about building socialism. Why are Republican legislators, or at least the leadership, so keen to help build socialism?

I would not heap too much blame on the original bill sponsors. There was nothing wrong with the original bill they filed, and in fact it would have helped. The small modular nuclear reactors are a very efficient way to make electricity. The real blame falls on the members of those legislative committees who approved adding all this other leftist rubbish to what had been a good bill. Hopefully they will draw primary opponents, especially the ones like Szoka and Steinberg.

The first vote in the House is not the key vote I look at either. A number of usually solid conservatives were misled on that vote. The vote in both House and Senate on the Senate version, when everything was clear as to what was up is the key vote I look at, and yes some of those who voted for it then are shocking to say the least. Some were absent, and those with excused absences generally had a good reason, such as medical, but those without excused absences who just took a walk are not much better than those who voted for it.

What happened with this bill tells conservatives that we have a lot of work to do within our own party. This bill goes against the principles set out in the North Carolina Republican Party platform. If our legislative leadership goes off the reservation like this, there must be a way to rein them back in.
( November 5th, 2021 @ 7:55 pm )
 
Sweet irony with a bitter taste: The NC Republicans own this. All the sponsors of HB 951 are Republican. Only two House Democrats voted for it. Only five House Republicans voted against it: Brody; Pittman; Sauls; Stickland; Torbett.



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