The candidates from the two major parties detoured from their usual routines to focus on an energy forum in Charlotte this week. Here’s how some of it went:
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis’ environmental record came under fire Monday after the state House speaker touted a program he has supported repealing.
Tillis talked about the state’s so-called Renewable Portfolio Standard at a Charlotte energy forum sponsored by the website Real Clear Politics.
Tillis’ comments came on a day he traded shots on the environment with the campaign of Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, the incumbent.
Tillis again accused Hagan of supporting proposed federal regulations that he said would raise energy costs for every North Carolina home. And Hagan’s campaign said Tillis supported rules on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that would prevent the disclosure of potentially harmful chemicals.
Speaking to the audience at the Mint Museum, Tillis extolled the state’s progress under its Renewable Energy Portfolio, mandates in North Carolina and more than 30 other states requiring utilities to derive part of their energy from sources such as solar or wind.
North Carolina’s law requires utilities to get at least 12.5 percent of their retail power sales from renewables and energy efficiency by 2021.
“In North Carolina we’ve seen a lot of great successes,” he told moderator Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics. “Solar is getting to the point where it can sustain itself. … We’ve seen water-to-energy projects, hog waste, a number of other things that have come up over the last several years since the Renewable Portfolio Standard was established.
“Those are the sorts of things we should be talking about and promoting instead of this what I consider ‘war on traditional sources of energy’.”
‘Traditional energy’? Like coal? Could this latest position have anything to do with the massive amount of moolah coal interests have been dumping into the Tillis campaign kitty?
After a Republican primary debate in April, Tillis said he supports efforts to repeal the standard. He said he was “optimistic” that the next speaker could oversee its repeal.
Supports efforts to repeal it ???? Tillis voted FOR it in 2007 — his first year in the House. In 2013, state Rep. Mike Hager introduced a bill to try and kill the alternative energy mandates — which ARE jacking up the price of energy. According to a really good NCGA source of mine, here’s how all that went:
”Hager’s bill got bounced around to five different committees! I’ve been here a while and I can’t remember anything else getting bounced around to five House committees. I don’t think the state budget has ever been bounced between five House committees. The speaker’s office makes the call on sending stuff to committee. In this case, Tillis wanted to kill the effort to kill the mandates without leaving his fingerprints on it. Clearly, he was doing a favor for some big donor or crony. If he really wanted to repeal those energy mandates, Thom Tillis could have twisted some arms, got it to the floor, and held a vote. Instead, he let it die in a committee traffic jam. Afterwards, Hager walked around pouting — unable to understand what happened to his bill. Thom Tillis is what happened to his bill!”
I am trying hard to figure out what exact position Tillis is taking on the whole issue of energy. He thinks alternative energy is great, but decries the “war on traditional energy.” I guess it’s hard to stay consistent — avoiding being on both sides of the issue — when you have taken a lot of money from “traditional energy” sources while also being a stockholder in a bank that specializes in alternative energy projects.