The North Carolina Legislature was very busy in 2006, but I want to point out some of the good things they accomplished:
Session Law 2006-206 requires a committee to study the feasibility of reducing the state's energy and water usage by 20% by January 1, 2012. The study report is due in February 2007. The legislation also requires the state to develop a plan to implement a 2005 law that requires the state to reduce petroleum usage by transitioning to alternative fuels by January 1, 2010.
Session Law 2006-190 amended an existing law to increase from $50M to $100M the maximum amount of debt the state can issue to pay for energy savings projects. This legislation also made water savings projects eligible for funding. Under this innovative financing concept, state agencies can borrow funds to make energy or water efficiency improvements. The savings from these improvements pay off the debt. The state saves tax payers money, acquires new HVAC systems, chillers, etc. for state facilities, and reduces the amount of greenhouses gases entering the atmosphere. Needless to say, this bill passed both houses unanimously.
The Raleigh Project has been critical of our elected leaders in past posts because of inaction and inattention to global warming and our wasteful energy consumption practices. On the flip side, I will always give praise where praise is due. I think the NC Legislature has taken some important steps this session. Let's thank our leaders for a job well done - but we all know this is a great first step. We all hope to see the momentum continue into next session, and we look forward to the report from the NC Global Climate Change Commission due in November 2006.