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Statement: Governor Roy Cooper defends local governments rights to choose clean energy

Veto on HB 220 makes transitioning to renewable energy possible
For Immediate Release

RALEIGH -- Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday that he vetoed HB 220, which would have prevented counties and cities from being able to transition away from antiquated, gas-powered buildings to modern, electric-powered codes.

Communities around North Carolina have been working to fight climate change by tapping into clean, renewable energy. More than 25 local governments in North Carolina have already made commitments to transition to 100% clean energy, and electric buildings are critical to making that happen. 

HB 220, which passed the legislature on Nov. 29, would have limited the options to create real progress on those goals by taking away communities’ rights to choose to electrify their buildings. 

"This legislation undermines North Carolina's transition to a clean energy economy that is already bringing in thousands of good paying jobs,” said Gov. Cooper in a statement. “It also wrongly strips local authority and hampers public access to information about critical infrastructure that impacts the health and well-being of North Carolinians."

In response, experts from Environment North Carolina and NC PIRG issued the following statements:

“We applaud Governor Roy Cooper for his decision to veto this bill and to let local North Carolina governments have the power to protect the health and environment of their communities,” said Krista Early, Environment North Carolina advocate. “So far, the momentum to roll out fossil fuel-free, electric buildings has come from forward-looking cities, counties and towns across the country. HB 220 would have clipped the wings of our local decision-makers to be a part of that movement. Governor Cooper’s veto clears the way for us to tap into electric buildings that take advantage of clean energy sources in a way that not only  doesn’t pollute our air and water but also prevents the worst impacts of climate change." 

“NCPIRG applauds Governor Cooper for vetoing this bill that would have been bad for consumers, our health and our environment,” said NCPIRG State Director Katie Craig. “Proponents of the bill claim that it helps protect consumers' rights to choose how they want to get their energy. But in reality, there is nothing consumer friendly about restricting towns and counties from moving to the cleaner, healthier future that it’s residents and consumers want to see.”