NC governor protects local government options to address climate change

Veto of H 220 Also Supports Government Transparency

From Sierra Club

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday vetoed H 220, “Choice of Energy Service,” which would prevent local governments from restricting fracked gas hookups, one of the tools available to them in the fight against climate change.

The bill would block local governments from banning gas lines to neighborhoods or buildings. Communities across the country have used this option as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prompting the fracked gas industry to push for this and similar legislation in 18 states.

When the bill moved through the Senate, an additional provision to restrict certain information concerning water, sewer, and energy infrastructure from the Public Records Act was added. The bill was passed by the legislature on Nov. 29; the vote of concurrence in the House was 57-46.

“We applaud Governor Cooper for vetoing this measure that would unnecessarily restrict local government authority to address climate change,” said Cynthia Satterfield, state director of the N.C. Sierra Club. “Climate change poses a significant threat to North Carolinians which is why more than 25 local governments in North Carolina have pledged to hit clean energy targets. Our state leaders should be doing everything they can to support these local efforts rather than limiting them.”

“This bill is also bad for government transparency. We support safeguarding our critical infrastructure, but we also support the public’s right to know how its water is being treated, and to have adequate information to provide comment on infrastructure projects.”