Carbon Rules and the NC Governor’s Race

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Carbon Rules and the NC Governor’s Race

Should North Carolina comply with the Obama Administration’s attempt to regulate carbon emissions? Or should the state fight the EPA’s regulation?

That issue has come into play in the race between Republican Governor Pat McCrory and his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper. Twenty-six states are suing the Obama Administration over the Clean Power Plan. North Carolina is one of them, but at the direction of the governor, not the attorney general.

The Clean Power Plan is a regulation put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency that requires states to implement a plan to reduce carbon emissions. The states suing the EPA contend that the agency is going beyond the powers granted to it by law and forcing states to implement an energy plan that will increase electricity costs.

In most states, the Attorney General is the state official who filed suit against the Clean Power Plan. Not in North Carolina, however. Attorney General Cooper disagreed with his colleagues across the nation, saying, “Although this legislation poses constitutional questions, I am even more concerned that this action will risk North Carolina's well-deserved reputation for protecting the quality of our air, recruiting businesses that produce cutting-edged technologies and offering leadership around the world on energy issues.”

Instead, Cooper wants a cooperative approach with the federal government. The Citizen-Times reports that Cooper favors getting groups together to write a plan to comply with the federal carbon-cutting requirements.

Governor McCrory does not favor this collaborative approach with the EPA. He has strong words for the new rules, saying, “Not only will these new federal rules raise electricity rates, they have the potential to jeopardize the success we’ve made in making North Carolina’s air the cleanest it’s been since we began tracking air quality back in the 1970s.”

With Attorney General Cooper’s unwillingness to fight the rules in court, McCrory directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to file suit against this regulation. The state Senate also voted in favor of legislation that would block implementation of the rule.

Do you support Governor McCrory’s attempt to fight this regulation in court? Or do you think Attorney General Cooper is right in his call to work with the federal government to implement this rule?

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