New Energy, New Vision in Raleigh
The expanded Democratic Majority in the House (68 Dems, 52 Reps) elected environmentalist Joe Hackney as Speaker of the House. In his opening remarks, laced with quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Hackney raised a number of environmental issues.
In particular, he highlighted Global Warming and Energy Efficiency. On Global Warming, Hackney said that NC should strive to become a leader on climate change particularly by taking advantage of the business opportunities associated with addressing Global Warming. As co-chair of the legislature's climate change committee, Hackney is committed to the passage of a global warming bill this session.
With regard to energy efficiency, Hackney did not specifically mention the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards though his remarks seem to indicate support for passage of an RPS bill this year. Hackney said that forward thinking energy efficiency legislation would "save money for our taxpayers, save money for our businesses, save money for homeowners, and save money for utilities."
Having a Speaker who puts these issues front and center is a great sign! There will be alot of opposition to legislation dealing with energy efficiency and global warming, primarily from powerful utilities and traditional energy companies. Beating status quo will take a leader with conviction and vision, such as Hackney, and the work of environmentalists across the state.
I think there is a role we here in Orange County can play in setting the stage for a more sustainable energy future and I intend to address that in the coming weeks.