You remember North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper as the Democrat who promised climate action, but instead approved the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and colluded with Duke energy to mess with our communities and climate. Cooper is a leading example of the climate hypocrisy in the Democratic party.
Cooper’s latest swindle is his so-called Clean Energy Plan, which he’ll present later this week at a meeting of the NC Climate Change Interagency Council. Cooper’s latest plan is more of the same – flowery talk and platitudes wrapped around inaction on two of the biggest sources of climate pollution in North Carolina: fracked gas infrastructure and the wood pellet, or biomass, industry.
Governor Cooper was elected on his promise to protect our climate and reverse North Carolina’s shameful history of climate denial. Instead, he swiftly approved fossil fuel projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). And it was later revealed that his administration negotiated the approval with Duke Energy and went so far as to overrule his own Department of Environmental Quality. Activists were so mad about it, that they (and we) sat in at Gov Cooper’s office for more than 8 hours demanding he revoke the permit – instead he ordered local police to arrest the protesters.
If the ACP is built, it would cause methane emissions to skyrocket and devastate low income communities and communities of color throughout eastern NC. Real climate leadership requires standing up to Duke Energy, the largest investor owned utility in the country and owner of the ACP.
The Cooper Administration is also ignoring another driver of climate chaos: industrial logging. A new report finds that industrial logging is the state’s third most carbon intensive sector, just after electricity and transportation. Our forests should be protected as a critical climate solution; instead, they are being destroyed and degraded at an alarming rate by Enviva, the world’s largest wood pellet producer, making North Carolina the largest wood pellet exporter in the country.
Governor Cooper recently made headlines and received high praise with the release of the state’s Clean Energy Plan. But until his administration stops approving new fossil fuel infrastructure and starts protecting our forests, we are calling him a climate hypocrite.