Environmental justice, climate and community organizations say State’s expansion of dirty energy projects contradicts his Executive Order
Today, with the imminent release of the Governor’s Clean Energy Plan, 28 national to local organizations representing tens of thousands of North Carolinians sent an open letter to Governor Roy Cooper urging him to exercise all regulatory and political authority to stop the expansion of dirty energy projects throughout the state. They also called for additional steps to address the escalating impacts of the climate crisis on North Carolina’s communities, economy and environment.
The groups point out that in spite of the Governor’s recent actions pursuant to his Executive Order on Climate Change his Administration is enabling the expansion of fracked gas and wood pellets, dirty fuels that will increase greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and forest destruction for many years to come, disproportionately impacting those on a low income and communities of color.
“It is crucial that all of us—from Governor Cooper, to his administration, to we at the community level—embody our state’s motto and choose to be protectors of our future rather than to simply seem as such.” said William Barber III of the Poor People’s Campaign. “North Carolina has already seen firsthand the devastation of the climate crisis, and we need this administration to lead in stopping environmentally destructive projects and instead, advance real climate solutions that put this state at the forefront of building a green economy that creates sustainable jobs in struggling communities.”
“We are tired of politicians who say the right thing but don’t take necessary action,” said Reverend Corine Mack, President of the State’s largest NAACP chapter in Mecklenberg County. “Communities already suffering from pollution and climate change are now under attack by the fracked gas and wood pellet industries which are going to make things worse not better. We need Cooper’s actions to match his rhetoric.”
The groups warn that these environmentally damaging projects directly contradict the Governor’s stated commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, advance clean energy and build climate resilient communities as outlined in last year’s Executive Order on Climate Change.
“Despite the Governor’s commitments, the fact is, his administration continues to green light the expansion of dirty, climate destructive infrastructure throughout our state, such as Duke Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Enviva’s wood pellet biomass facilities,” said Danna Smith, Executive Director of Dogwood Alliance, “Governor Cooper can still be a climate champion but we need real action, and that’s not what we’re seeing on the ground.”
The letter calls for immediate action in several areas including: a clean energy plan that commits the state to 100% clean, renewable energy and an immediate halt to the expansion of fracked gas and wood pellet facilities, a plan for increased forest protection and pollution remediation, and a plan for a just transition to a green economy that prioritizes creating equitable job opportunities for struggling communities.
Jim Warren, Executive Director of NC WARN, said today, “We appreciate the Governor bringing attention to the climate crisis, but we need his administration to move past Duke Energy’s talking points about fracked ‘natural’ gas being clean. Gas is worse than coal for the climate, and it’s now more expensive than solar, wind and energy storage — as already proven in many states.”
The letter states that failure to take bold action to stop dirty energy projects will erode the public’s trust in Cooper’s climate leadership. It notes that a recent public opinion poll conducted by Yale and George Mason University following Hurricane Florence found that 60% of voters in our state are worried about climate change and want the government to take action.