Raleigh, N.C. — Local governments across North Carolina would be forbidden by the state from banning natural gas and other energy sources under legislation that moved forward Tuesday.
House Bill 220 is patterned on measures moving in a number of states with backing from the natural gas industry.
The bill’s key provision is this one: “A city shall not adopt an ordinance that prohibits, or has the effect of prohibiting, the connection, reconnection, modification, or expansion of an energy service based upon the type or source of energy to be delivered to an individual or any other person as the end-user of the energy service.”
Rep. Dean Arp, R-Union, a House budget writer as well as co-chair of the chamber’s Energy and Public Utilities committee, said the bill will help North Carolina avoid a “fractured and uncoordinated” energy policy. He told committee members Tuesday that he doesn’t know of any North Carolina cities or counties that have moved to ban natural gas or any other energy source, but some have in California, New York and Maryland.
Arp said the measure is proactive.
The bill cleared committee and heads next to the House Commerce committee. There were several no votes Tuesday, and committee Democrats questioned the need for the bill.
Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, said she didn’t want to tinker with local government authority on the issue. Also, buildings are responsible for 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, she said, and if cities require more efficient buildings, it will help fight climate change.
NPR ran a story last month about the gas industry’s effort to move these bills through various state legislatures.
Natural gas, which is also called methane, burns cleaner than coal, but it still produces carbon dioxide when burned. Also, if methane leaks into the atmosphere, it becomes a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – more than 80 times more potent by some measures.
Read More: New bill would protect natural gas in NC :: WRAL.com