Cautionary Tale: What Happens When the Tea Party Takes Over (Alternative Fuel Standards, Watch Out)

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    North Carolina WAS a pretty progressive state for an increasingly purple one. It had even enshrined North Carolinians’ right to clean air and water in the state constitution. That was then. The Tea Party has shoved NC into a headlong list of “never minds” and rewrites of law sending our state back to the 19th Century. Sound familiar? The NC House of Delegates became a laughing stock, when in 2012, it forbade state scientists study of the rise of sea levels.  (You wouldn’t want to provide evidence that global warming is real, would you. Snark, for the literalists out there.) Also in 2012 it went headlong into an effort to open the state to horizontal fracking and pretend to protect the public against its ravages.

    Then, yesterday, the NC House Commerce Committee passed a bill to repeal NC’s alternate fuels standards. The downward trajectory of NC continues in full bloom. If you have been asking how low can NC go, you haven’t seen the end of the absurdity the GA, or Art Pope’s puppet governor are concocting. Here is the background:


    In 2007, North Carolina became the first state in the Southeast to adopt such a standard – Senate Bill 3 passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support and requires state utilities to supply 12.5 percent of renewable energy by 2021. Since then, clean energy companies have generated billions in revenue and have created thousands of in-state jobs – all while reducing pollution and saving ratepayers money.

    But now, North Carolina has joined the growing list of states in which organizations like the Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Council, or ALEC, and Koch-backed Grover Norquist have been lobbying against renewable energy policy, and pushing “model legislation” to undo these standards. House Bill 298, called the “Affordable and Reliable Energy Act,” was introduced by known ALEC member Representative Mike Hager, and aims to fully repeal the energy standard.

    Of course, 2007 was before the Tea Party (TP) took over the House. And the TPs are fast ruining our once-great state. NC, fifth in the nation for solar power, will before long fall like a rock. Ironically, realizing a good thing when they see it, even the normally stodgy power companies opposed a previous effort to repeal the standards.  But never mind. The Tea Party is on a race to the bottom.

    But here’s the thing. The bill passed out of committee with a single vote. (See how important a single race is? Have you helped Jennifer Boysko in her 86th District HoD race yet?)