Sen. Stein hit the nail on the head when he highlighted the existence of a small, dogmatic group in the Republican Party hell-bent on exterminating the clean-energy industry (“There goes the sun,” June 3). This small but powerful unit has been doing everything imaginable to repeal pro-renewables legislation. In fact, last month’s report of unethical conduct by the Senate Finance Committee chair, Bob Rucho, in the discussion of and voting on House Bill 332 is only their latest desperate effort. The story actually sounds quite familiar.
An almost identical scenario occurred in 2013 when then co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Bill Rabon, advanced a bill to repeal the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. After denying a vote count, Sen. Rabon arbitrarily and erroneously declared the voice-vote in favor of the measure.
The bill was ultimately defeated. But guess who was the primary sponsor? It was none other than our most fervent anti-renewables legislator and former Duke Energy employee: House Majority Leader Mike Hager. After failing to rollback REPS in 2013, he sponsored a slightly more palatable REPS freeze, currently labeled H332. I say “currently” because the evening before Hager’s REPS freeze came up in the Senate Commerce Committee, he had it ripped from H.B. 760 and thrown into H.B. 332 in a thinly veiled attempt to catch clean energy supporters off-guard.
In spite of this array of corrupt tactics, the facts are clear to anyone without “doctrinaire” blinders: REPS has brought clean energy, revenue, jobs and acclaim to North Carolina since its passage in 2007. Multiple committee chairs and the House majority leader resorting to dishonorable practices to oppose REPS only validates the strength of its support. Their disgraceful efforts will not change reality: REPS and our clean energy industry are here to stay.
Kirsten Lew, Durham