It was sailing along, passing from the N.C. Senate to the House, when somebody noticed that S.B. 3 — a legislative attempt to reduce use of fossil-based power and spur increases in energy efficiency and alternative sources — had some expensive fine print.
As outlined in The Charlotte Observer, there are built-in flaws with this bill — particularly, the lack of a cap on the amount utilities could charge ratepayers for construction — that could actually encourage power companies to build more coal-fired plants. (The bill contains a cap, however, on renewable-energy costs, potentially limiting that option.) According to the local office of Clean Water for North Carolina, the bill also fails to establish any environmental-performance standards in methane recovery from hog and poutry operations. Members of the House Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee are now taking a critical look at the bill (H.B. 77), evidently with changes in mind.
— Nelda Holder, news and opinion editor