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Op-ed: NC Needs “Clean Power Plan”

by Carol Williams
contributed op-ed

Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly are making short-sighted and harmful decisions to NOT protect the very air we breathe and ground we live on.

sea level riseSlowly but surely, our national government has joined with governments of other countries to say that we are experiencing global warming due to human activity.

In June 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency laid out our first national regulations on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. This “Clean Power Plan” calls for North Carolina to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 39 percent from 2012 levels. North Carolina is third nationally in solar energy production and is beginning a process to harness the energy of our winds; we have been working toward replacing dirty energy with clean energy for a while now. North Carolina is well positioned to exceed the carbon pollution standards proposed by the EPA.

Sadly, however, Governor McCrory has decided to stall. He is rumored to be considering suing the EPA rather than continue with the commendable work of previous North Carolina administrations. Would McCrory really rather spend taxpayer money on a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency than on continuing the transition from dirty to clean power?

North Carolina has already felt the effects of rapid climate change. We have homes that have collapsed into the ocean, a big section of highway 12 is underwater and the beaches on our barrier islands have to be regularly “nourished” — a very costly and short-term solution, sometimes lasting only three weeks. Further, according to the report released on March 31 by the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission (2015 N.C. Coastal Commissions Sea Level Rise Report), our global ocean and our North Carolina seas are going to continue to rise. Thus, eastern North Carolinians should expect “more frequent flooding of low-lying areas” (page 24 of report above).

The good news is that the fewer greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, the less our seas will rise. (To see how greenhouse gases and sea level change are related, begin with the Future Sea Level Change section of the EPA’s introduction to climate change.)

As citizens, we should do our part to decrease our individual carbon footprints. It is up to Governor McCrory to lead the way in decreasing the state’s carbon footprint. Governor McCrory should cease fighting the EPA and continue the work of his predecessors by writing a Clean Power Plan for North Carolina that goes even beyond EPA’s plan. Urge the governor to stop wasting our money on lawsuits, and to finish the transition from dirty to clean power already!

Governor Pat McCrory
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Phone:  919-814-2000
Fax:  919-733-2120
Tweet to @PatMcCroryNC

Carol Williams is an environmental advocate and a Greenville resident.

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The views presented are those of the writer alone and do not necessarily represent those of the Greenville Guardian, its staff or management.

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