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Carolina Journal Radio No. 903: Election campaigns head into home stretch

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
September 7, 2020 8:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 903: Election campaigns head into home stretch

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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September 7, 2020 8:00 am

The 2020 election moves into its home stretch now that both major parties have held their national conventions. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, discusses highlights from the GOP event, including the renomination of Donald Trump for a second term in the White House. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is relying on advice from U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known popularly as AOC, in developing policies related to energy and the environment. John Locke Foundation CEO Amy O. Cooke, “The Right AOC,” explains why the other AOC’s policy proposals would be wrong for America. U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson wants the federal government to consider more reliance on nuclear energy as it plans for a secure future energy supply. Hudson discussed his priorities while questioning Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette on Capitol Hill. N.C. policymakers continue to look at the best way to help the state’s economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, offered his ideas during a recent online forum sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. Newton hopes North Carolina will be the first state in line as job creators and entrepreneurs choose locations for their new and expanding businesses. The Cooper administration’s decision to deny a key water permit for the Mountain View Pipeline could lead to higher electricity prices. That would mean bad news for North Carolinians continuing to struggle with the coronavirus-damaged economy. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, explores the impact of the Cooper administration’s decision. Van der Vaart emphasizes the importance of increasing natural gas infrastructure in the state.

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From Cherokee to Kuretuk, from the largest city to the smallest town, and from the statehouse to the schoolhouse, it's Carolina Journal Radio, your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most important public policy events and issues.

Welcome to Carolina Journal Radio, I'm Mitch Kochai. During the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state. The Congresswoman known as AOC is getting a lot of attention for her energy and environmental proposals, but the John Locke Foundation's own AOC, the right AOC, says those policy ideas are wrong for America. One North Carolina congressman is urging federal officials to take a closer look at nuclear power as they safeguard the American energy supply.

You'll learn why. A state senator explains why he hopes North Carolina will be first in line as job creators decide where they want to do business next. And we'll discuss the impact of a recent decision to kill a key permit for a natural gas pipe line in this state.

Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martinez joins us and she has the Carolina Journal headline. Well, last week, we looked at key themes from the Democratic National Convention. And this week, we are turning our attention to the Republicans. Joining us with analysis not only of what it means for our country, but also for the battleground state of North Carolina is my good friend Rick Henderson.

He is editor in chief of Carolina Journal. Rick, welcome back to the program. Thanks very much, Donna. So the Democrats, it was all Zoom and it was a little bit subdued, et cetera, in terms of just tone in the way that it came across since we're used to conventions, of course, being cheering people in an auditorium. The Republicans this time around seem to manage to give it a little bit more energy and a few more people. Did you notice the difference here, first of all?

Absolutely. It was a much more energetic and normal looking convention, even though there was no balloon drop. Instead, there was a huge fireworks display, which may well as more than one observer I've seen on social media point out, this may be the last time we ever see an indoor convention in a convention hall, since basically the purpose of having them in the convention halls for so long was to cut deals, to pass platforms, to often nominate candidates, the people who were going to be heading the ticket. And so much of that was done in advance.

And then in this case, the Republicans didn't even have a platform. So the use of having everyone in the same building at the same time goes away quite a bit. And in fact, sort of the business part of the convention could be accomplished as it was in Charlotte in a day with a few hundred people. So I think this is probably the start, I think some hybrid of what we saw the past two weeks is what we're going to see from now on with conventions. You will see some staged filmed pieces that are used in between the live speakers.

The live speakers may be at multiple locations. And you may see, this is not the first time there's been an outdoor acceptance speech. JFK did that in 1960 at the L.A.

Coliseum. Barack Obama did that 2008 in Denver at Mile High. And then President Trump did it this time around at the White House. Let's talk a little bit about the key themes and messages from the Republicans. They had a whole lot of speakers. They had people that I would call just average Americans, as well as some well-known elected officials.

After listening and watching for four days, what do you think their two or three primary messages were? Well, part of the thing that was, I guess, not shocking, but still a little bit unusual is that President Trump is still running as the outsider, even though he's the incumbent. He's still running against Washington. He's still running against the swamp. And with Joe Biden as his opponent, that is more realistic than if almost any other Democrat had been elected or chosen to head the ticket, because Joe Biden has been in Washington nonstop for almost half a century. And so you could very easily run against Joe Biden, either the Senate that he was a leader of for many years or when he was vice president for eight years.

And so so Donald Trump is still running against the insiders in Washington and running as an outside candidate. So I think that was one one thing. Second thing, of course, was the law and order theme, which we anticipated as much. Unfortunately, the the violence, the looting, the rioting taking place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is very disturbing. And that was a backdrop for a lot of the talk, especially Wednesday and Thursday nights when Vice President Pence gave his acceptance speech. And then when the president gave his and when the people introducing the president gave their talks was that essentially we may be in charge of Washington, but there are Democrats in charge of many cities and they are not able to keep the cities under control. They are allowing businesses and homes to be randomly and wantonly looted.

And we have to step up our presence to prevent the basically our major economic centers from going into the hands of anarchists. And that came through very clearly on Wednesday and Thursday. Before that, then it was more of an introduction of of what a second Trump administration would mean for issues such as, let's say, people of lower incomes, minorities in issues such as school choice, prison reform, and and also some of the future of the party when you had former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and current South Carolina Senator Tim Scott being headliners on the first night. Rick, it seemed to me that it's kind of boiled down between a week of the Democrats and then a week of the Republicans to the Democrats messaging out that, hey, Donald Trump is a bad guy. He doesn't know how to be president and he's messed up the U.S. response to covid-19 versus Donald Trump essentially saying, hey, I'm the law and order president.

I'm going to keep you safe, whether it's here on our own, on our own land here in this country or if it means across the world fighting terrorists. Is it really boiling down to that type of an election? It is. And it's basically boiling down to that in the suburbs of the swing states, because I think what some of the analysis you see coming out so far is that it looks as if the Democratic and Republican conventions help Joe Biden in blue states. And the two conventions help Republican Donald Trump in red states.

And so the question now is, how does this affect swing voters? And there are people who have run focus groups of Republicans, let's say, marginally attached Republicans who are very much shaken by the violence in Minneapolis earlier, in Wisconsin more recently. And unless the Democrats come up with some sort of effective response to that, Vice President Biden has spoken numerous times over the past week saying that violence, rioting, looting are not acceptable. But until that message resonates, then that's a leg up for the president in that you do have these cities largely controlled by Democratic mayors because there aren't many cities left under Republican control.

But you do have the situations in which the cities are basically allowed to burn. And the Democratic mayors don't seem to be very effective in dealing with this at all. Rick, you mentioned an outreach to the suburbs, et cetera. And certainly we saw that during the week for the Republicans. We saw a lot of women who were giving presentations talking about how Donald Trump has employed lots of women and relies on them, et cetera.

So we know he has an issue with women and suburban women specifically. But there seemed to be an incredible outreach to minorities, particularly African-Americans, a lot of Latinos. We saw several people who are Cuban-Americans talking about having come from communism and socialism, et cetera. Can you ever remember a Republican convention where there were so many people of color?

It's hard to remember one in particular. And part of that is this time around, the convention very much focused around the president and around the people inside the White House. And so it was much easier to have the surrogates, the people who held other speaking slots, fill different roles. Because quite often conventions, like the Democratic convention last week and like most conventions, you roll out the people who we all know.

You have a couple of rising stars, if you will, sprinkled here and there. But basically the people who were involved in these conventions and who come before the American people are familiar faces or folks you've known before. And so you saw with the Democrats all the former living presidents. You saw all the people who ran against Joe Biden and lost being featured at different times. You saw people who were familiar. And that's normally how conventions are handled. With the Republicans, you had the vice president and the president, their families, and then the handful of elected officials such as Ambassador Haley and Senator Scott.

But other than that, it was an awful lot of everyday Americans of all colors and genders involved. And so now we have about two months or so to go until it is election day. Who knows if we'll have a winner and a loser the day after election day or not. Rick Henderson, thanks so much. Stay with us. Much more Carolina Journal Radio to come in just a moment. Tired of fake news?

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I'm Mitch Kokay. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is getting many of his ideas about energy and the environment from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first term U.S. representative from New York who's known popularly as AOC. We thought it might be a good idea to get a different perspective on these issues from a different AOC, the right AOC. That is the nickname of Amy O. Cook, who is CEO of the John Locke Foundation.

And Amy, you have been paying attention to the other AOC ever since she got on the national scene. And when it comes to energy and the environment, she's very wrong. Energy and environmental policy was or always has been one of my policy loves. I was actually before I before I came here, I directed the energy and environmental policy at the Independence Institute in Colorado, Colorado, of course, one of the seventh largest energy producing states in the country.

So it was a huge deal. Plus, we had seemed a plethora of very active far left environmental groups. I'm starting to see similar groups move into North Carolina. So I might be picking this topic back up a little bit more. But to your point about AOC and the wrong AOC, she couldn't be more wrong on energy and environmental policy. The policies that she is espousing will not help with energy, nor will they keep the environment clean. Of course, she's famously known for her Green New Deal. Joe Biden introduced her as his energy policy adviser in May of this year. So she is going to be advising him on the campaign trail. Every single American should be worried about that. Let me just share a couple of things first about what the Green New Deal would do. According to AOC, by 2030, she wants the country to be at a net zero carbon emissions, no cars, no planes, no travel, no cows. So forget your nice, juicy burger, your great steak. She's not going to allow that. But of course, I'm sure she'll have all of those things.

It'll be for the rest of us. This net zero Green New Deal is heavily reliant on wind and energy. These intermittent, unreliable sources. There are a whole bunch of problems with it, cost, what it does to the environment.

But three things to focus on right now. One is it's just an impossible standard. And then the other one is it will dramatically decrease our quality of life.

And it also really shackles us to China. So what do I mean by those three things? So the first one is it's an impossible standard. Carbon is life. CO2 emissions, which she wants at net zero, it's what we exhale. I mean, you're literally talking about eliminating people.

So it's an impossible, impossible standard. In the United States, by the way, what are we about 16, 17 tons of carbon emissions per capita, I think was the last figure I saw. Now, here's what we do with that. We contribute roughly 25% of the world's GDP. We are incredibly efficient in creating wealth, creating a quality of life that people in many other countries want to enjoy as well. And AOC and this Green New Deal would destroy all of that because let me just give you an idea of what zero carbon emissions look like. Think of places like Chad, the Congo, even places like countries like Somalia and Afghanistan have some carbon emissions. In Chad, I looked it up, actually, they're living on about $2 a day. That's about what their wages are. You can't get a cup of coffee here for $2 a day. I just don't think most Americans want to live like that.

Their quality of life would be dramatically decreased. And carbon emissions, by the way, you know, plants need carbon. We exhale it, plants need it. That's how, you know, it's life.

It is life. But this zero carbon emissions, you have to go to some places that have a very, very low quality of life to see what zero carbon emissions looks like. And again, remember, this is reliant on this intermittent, unreliable, these unreliable sources like wind and solar.

And if you want to know what this transition is going to look like, look no further than California right now. We have heard that the West Coast is experiencing dramatic heat waves and there have been rolling blackouts in California because they are heavily reliant, especially on solar. And as peak demand for solar drops late in the afternoon, early evening, people are getting home from work or they might be home already, they're working from home. Air conditioning needs, the demand doesn't drop just because solar stops producing.

Candle makers may have a market in California right now. And in fact, I saw this on Twitter last night, Michael Shellenberger, who is head of environmental progress, which is a think tank dedicated to improving the human condition globally, as well as providing safe, clean, affordable, reliable, abundant electricity. He tweeted at Kamala Harris last night and it was very pointed.

He said, hi, Kamala Harris, you know, Michael Shellenberger here, Berkeley residents three days into a rolling blackout. Question, why should the country follow California's lead? It's a legitimate question, especially if you're sweltering or sitting in 100 degree heat.

That's a good question. Why should I not have access to affordable, reliable, clean, safe, abundant power? Not only that, California has some of the highest rates of electricity.

So you have quality of life, an impossible standard. And the third one is China. I think we're all pretty clear on the fact that China is openly hostile to us. And yet China controls 95 percent of the world's supply of these things called rare earth elements. Rare earth elements are in everything from, you know, your smartphone to the camera, to the equipment we're using here today, your TV, your computer. They're in weapons systems. They're also used.

There's a significant use in wind turbines and solar panels. They need those rare earth elements. The United States imports roughly 80 percent of its supply from China.

Why? Because the same environmentalists who don't want us using any fossil fuels also won't let us extract rare earth elements here in the United States. So we have to import those elements. Now, you take those things, you take quality of life, dependence on China, an impossible standard, and you can throw in cost and everything else of what it's going to do to the American people. And you compare that to President Trump. And President Trump, even as he was campaigning, when he was candidate Trump, was saying, listen, we can develop our natural resources responsibly and we can be energy independent and have clean air, clean water, be good stewards of our environment.

It was never this mutually exclusive that you have to choose between the economy and the environment. Amy O. Cook is the right AOC. She is also the CEO of the John Locke Foundation. Thanks so much for joining us. Thank you for having me, Mitch. And we'll return with more Carolina Journal radio in just a moment. If you love freedom, we've got great news to share with you. Now you can find the latest news, views and research from conservative groups across North Carolina all in one place. North Carolina conservative dot com. It's one stop shopping for North Carolina's freedom movement at North Carolina conservative dot com. You'll find links to John Locke Foundation blogs on the day's news. Carolina Journal dot com reporting and quick takes. Carolina Journal radio interviews, TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke Foundation analysts, opinion pieces and reports on higher education from the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, commentary and polling data from the Civitas Institute and news and views from the North Carolina Family Policy Council.

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I'm Mitch Kokay. American defense depends on a reliable energy supply. Republican North Carolina Congressman Richard Hudson made that point during a recent hearing on Capitol Hill.

Hudson was questioning US Energy Secretary Dan Brule mainly about nuclear power. As we face threats around the globe, it's of paramount importance. Our bases at home and our forward and remote operating bases have the sustainable energy supply they need to keep us safe.

You and President Trump have made this a priority, and for that I'm very grateful. As this committee and your department develop new energy technologies to adequately supply our armed forces, I believe the future of our defense energy supply and our focus should reside with small modular and advanced nuclear reactors. In fact, back in 2018, I had an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that requires the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense to develop guidelines for a pilot program, the development of microreactors at critical DOE and DOD sites. I'm very interested in this report's recommendations for our forward operating bases and for increasing energy resilience at bases like Warburg.

But unfortunately, the report's still at OMB, so I'd appreciate anything you can do to assist me in getting this report finalized so we can move it forward. There was a recent report from the Nuclear Fuel Working Group which outlined how America can reestablish itself as a global leader in nuclear technologies. This report supported next-generation nuclear reactors.

Can you comment on this report? We've lost our leadership in America on nuclear power. We're losing it very quickly to places like China and Russia. In the case of China, they're using technologies that I think can be fairly characterized as American technology. Westinghouse is perhaps the world's leader in the development of advanced nuclear technologies. They created a reactor. It's called the AP-1000.

It's a fantastic product. China developed a reactor that looks awfully similar, and we're seeing them deploy that around the world. And importantly, they deployed around the world without the safeguards, without the nonproliferation safeguards that we as Americans feel is very, very important. To the extent that we don't focus on that, we only increase our defense needs around the world. You know, if we allow rogue nations to develop this technology and from that develop warhead programs, we only increase our need for a strong defense here in the United States. So it's very, very important that we connect these things together in a way that allows us to move forward and perhaps regain our leadership in this nuclear area. The Working Group is the first step of that. We have many steps to go. But we do feel it is a very credible strategy that lays out a roadmap for America to retain or regain our leadership in this case in the nuclear space. That's U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brule responding to questions about nuclear power from North Carolina Congressman Richard Hudson.

He's a Republican representing Fort Bragg and the rest of the 8th District. We'll return with more Carolina Journal Radio in a moment. We're doubling down on freedom.

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Welcome back to Carolina Journal Radio, I'm Mitch Kocine. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the North Carolina economy hard. What can state policymakers do to help recover from that hit? That was the topic of a discussion at a recent John Locke Foundation virtual town hall.

One participant, Republican State Senator Paul Newton of Cabarrus County. On the one hand, we've got to take care of today, right? We are seeing budget deficits on the horizon. But the good news there is that good fiscal, fiscally conservative policies over the last decade have really put us in a position to have a rainy day fund to have a budget surplus. And while we also are looking at approximately 5 billion in net, fewer revenues to the state, we're in a strong position to deal with that.

Not easy, but we're in better shape than most states are to handle that part of the crisis. So it is appropriate to look sort of inwardly to solve those issues. But it's also important in my view to think about tomorrow.

Tomorrow is going to come, we are going to reopen, we are going to see more economic activity. And what I would like to do is make sure North Carolina is at the front of the line in terms of locations for job creators to choose. Newton supports a number of ideas to meet his goal. One would offer franchise tax relief to companies that invest in North Carolina. Franchise tax is a tax that actually in a way punishes capital investment, our state job creation, our state. I'd love to eliminate the franchise tax in North Carolina, but short of that, I can give new capital investors five-year reprieve from that franchise tax. So that would be the goal. Newton also would change existing state tax incentives.

We have the one in C fund, I would put under this bill $100 million into that fund, and it would be used for much larger prospective employers than that fund is used for today. So my point to the to the rest of the world is North Carolina is going to take care of today, we're going to do everything we need to do to be fiscally sound. But we're also going to look to tomorrow, and we're going to position this state to be first in line as site selection consultants consider where to repatriate manufacturing, where to grow their businesses.

We want North Carolina to be top of mind. Newton explained how he's approaching businesses that reopen after the pandemic. They are going to enter into the realm of the unknown with respect to what is their duty of care as they open their doors, and then there's an allegation made that I contracted COVID in your business you're responsible, I'm going to sue you for the COVID that I contracted in your place of business. Now, that shouldn't happen. We cannot let that happen in North Carolina. We owe it to our business community, to our educational community, to give them a safe harbor so that they know they have immunity against negligence claims. And the only responsibility for anyone in the state who's reopening when they're allowed to reopen will be for gross negligence, negligence or intentional misconduct.

So I'm excited about that. I think we owe it to our community to do that to do that. That's State Senator Paul Newton, recent speaker at a John Locke Foundation Virtual Town Hall. Newton mentioned the key point of North Carolina's recovery. The bottom line is we have got to get the economy going again. And the frustration we're hearing from constituents, many of us at the legislature, is the lack of consistency, the lack of logic between who's reopening and who's not reopening. We were all uncertain about what the nature of this virus is going to be early on. So we supported the governor's decision early on and how he handled things.

I think he did as well as anyone could. But there's a principle in play here that we're observing that I've seen in the private sector. And oftentimes in the private sector, you might find a CEO who sort of bets his career on a decision path. And he doesn't or he's unwilling to recognize that circumstances have pivoted beneath him or her and he's unwilling to pivot with the change in data, the change in circumstances. And I feel like we've got a situation here and many of our constituents do too, where the governor might have started out in a good place. But we know that the nature of this virus has changed greatly from what we feared at the very beginning.

The modeling was wrong. We know that now. We know who our vulnerable populations are. And I think about the example of Turkey. I just happened to see a comparison of Turkey and the UK. And Turkey has 10x fewer deaths from COVID. And yet they never shut down their economy, even though the UK did. 10x fewer deaths. How did they do that?

They identified early that the vulnerable populations are very elderly, those with underlying conditions, and they're very, very young. And they said, you all stay home. You shelter in place. Everybody else get to work. Keep our economy going so we can safely reopen this economy, which then generates those revenues and gets us back on solid footing to provide the essential governmental services we're expected to provide.

Newton emphasized the importance of addressing business owners needs. We have got to offer what job creators want. We are.

We cannot. The moment we become complacent. And I've heard leaders say this, that we're good.

North Carolina is a great place to be. We've gotten job creators. We don't need to do any more. We have to do more every single day to exceed the value proposition that job creators want, that individuals want, that families want. We have got to offer a quality of life, a tax structure, a regulatory structure that is second to none because our competitors are working to beat North Carolina every single day.

And we cannot, we just cannot forget that and just never get complacent where there's always room for improvement. And organizations like the John Locke Foundation, I don't know of another one like the John Locke Foundation, but your principles and your practices are the types of thing are things that our state needs to embrace more and more every day because you reflect the types of sustainable public policy positions that will make us successful for multiple generations. We are a lifecycle state in North Carolina. We stop working on that and then suddenly the next generation of people are going to go out of state to work or they'll go out of state to retire or they'll go out of state to get educated.

Right now we're a lifecycle state. We offer all of the above with excellence and we've got to continue to improve and strive to get better and better every day or we will lose population and taxation, effective taxation is a really simple concept. If you're growing your rooftops, you can spread the tax liability, keep your tax rates low and no individual feels the burden. New York is experiencing the exodus of highway journers. Their taxes are going up.

It's falling on fewer and fewer people and that is a governmental nightmare. What's the end goal of North Carolina's economic recovery? We're never there. So anybody who thinks there's a goal line is wrong.

I mean, the standard always changes. Continuous excellence is required and when you think about attracting job creators to North Carolina, when you think about all the factors a site selection consultant or a company is going to look at, it really all boils down to the leadership team of that company being able to look at its employees and say, we're going to, we're asking you to relocate your family to a place you can be proud of. That's Republican State Senator Paul Newton, recent speaker at a John Locke Foundation Virtual Town Hall.

We'll return with more Carolina Journal Radio in a moment. Real influence, you either have it or you don't and at the John Locke Foundation, we have it. You'll find our guiding principles in many of the freedom forward reforms of the past decade here in North Carolina. So while others talk or complain or name call, we provide research, solutions and hope. Our team analyzes the pressing issues of the day, jobs, healthcare, education and more. We look for effective ways to give you more freedom, more options, more control over your life. Our goal is to transform North Carolina into a growing, thriving economic powerhouse, the envy of every other state. Our research has helped policy makers make decisions that ensure you keep more of what you earn, expand your choice of schools for your kids, widen your job opportunities, improve your access to doctors. The recipe for stability and a bright future for truth, for freedom, for the future of North Carolina. We are the John Locke Foundation. Welcome back to Carolina Journal Radio.

I'm Donna Martinez. North Carolina lacks the necessary infrastructure to move low cost, clean burning natural gas into our state. That's why the Cooper administration's decision to deny what was known as the Mountain View Project, a critical water permit, is of such concern. John Locke Foundation senior fellow Dr. Don Van Der Vart analyzed the impact of the loss of this particular pipeline project as well as another one that would have come into North Carolina. He did that in an op-ed published recently in the Raleigh News and Observer, the Charlotte Observer, as well as the Durham Herald Sun. Don joins us now to talk about this critical issue in North Carolina, access to energy. Don, welcome back to the show. Thanks for having me. In your piece, the lead of it is pretty alarming for any person who pays an electric bill in North Carolina.

That's pretty much all of us. You say higher electricity prices are coming. Expect a higher bill.

Why? Well, at the simplest, most superficial level, it's already obvious, which is as we continue to struggle to bring natural gas into North Carolina because of a lack of pipeline capacity, when you weigh that against the fact that we are burning more and more natural gas to generate electricity, you can see that at some point the supplies are going to fall below the demands and that raises prices. So at the most superficial level, anything that prevents Duke and our manufacturing facilities to get the gas they need is going to necessarily make that commodity dear and we'll pay more for it.

I have to tell you, as I was reading through the piece, this was kind of an aha moment for me and this is my naivete and ignorance, frankly. I never really thought much about the fact that you have to have what you term infrastructure or pipelines to actually move the fuel, the natural gas, into the state so that we can access it and use it. So why don't we have pipeline capacity here? And coupled with that is the fact that over the last 10 or so years, we have seen a dramatic shift from coal-fired electricity generation to natural gas-fired electricity generation and it's because of that shift that you're seeing the pinching of our existing infrastructure, which is essentially the transco. So what we're faced with, for example, in 2014 was a severely polar vortex cold snap. And everyone was at home burning their fuel. Duke obviously was burning a lot of natural gas to generate electricity for those people who wanted to heat their homes with electricity. And you had a curtailment of what's called interruptible supply contracts for a lot of manufacturing plants. In fact, some manufacturing plants actually had to go down. And that was the beginning of sort of the realization that North Carolina was facing a pending shortage in capacity. And from that, and FERC, the federal agency that evaluates these things, determined that North Carolina needed additional gas capacity.

So we need it. That would make one think, okay, then there's got to be some projects, no pun intended, in the pipeline in order to get that natural gas into North Carolina. In fact, there were two. There were two. You've written about both of them. One was the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is now a dead project.

And briefly explain why. Right. So that was the project between Dominion and Duke, whereas I'm going to talk about the other project that's more a private enterprise, not a public utility enterprise. But that pipeline was much in the news. There was controversy about the same 401 water permit that North Carolina issued. But in that case, whatever the reason, whether it was the $58 million slush fund or whether it was a deal with solar or whatever, the point is that the Cooper administration approved the project. And so apparently believed, which I think is correct, that North Carolina needed more capacity. And then in a somewhat surprising move, we see Duke and Dominion back out of that project. And their reason was is that they were just having too much uncertainty about continued environmental litigation and a shift, apparent shift in North Carolina energy policy, which appears to say that we are now opposed to any increase in natural gas.

And that's the underlying problem here. So that project is no more for the reasons you just listed. That brings us to what's known as the Mountain View Project. Now, the Cooper administration apparently is opposed to this.

Why? If that's the only option left and we need this natural gas into North Carolina, we've got to have a pipeline to get it here, why would the Cooper administration be opposed to this? And interestingly, early, about a year ago, they had filed comments with the federal agency that overlooks this saying, well, no, we don't need the Mountain View Project because we have the ACP.

And so we have the capacity we needed. Since then, as I said, there seems to be a crystallization of their opposition to more natural gas. And even after ACP withdrew from building, the state of North Carolina decided to deny the critical permit that Mountain View needed. And that doesn't make any sense because what it appears to say is that they now no longer support additional capacity into North Carolina. That gets us back to where we started. And you say the result of all of this is the fact that, OK, we still have no pipeline then. That's going to mean we don't have the energy that we need. We're a fast growing state. A lot of people want to move here, businesses, individuals, retirees, for all sorts of reasons that we know because we all live here, right?

It's a great place. So how do we actually make sure that we can produce and deliver the energy that we require? And here's the fallacy that we just now saw an illustration of in California. The stated strategy by Cooper in the so-called clean energy plan is to expand renewables, which are, as you know, intermittent energy supplies. And in California, we recently saw that that just doesn't fill the gaps at all times. They're having rolling blackouts. I have a family member who lives there.

It's no fun. And what we all have to remember is when you add solar, when you add wind, you need natural gas backup to fill those gaps up. Now in the case of California, they had a couple of gas units go down. They couldn't fill the gaps.

And they had rolling blackouts. In North Carolina, we're going to have a different issue. We're going to have an insufficient capacity to bring natural gas in during these gaps and we'll be faced with shortages of electricity as well. So it's a short-sighted and, I believe, ill-thought-out strategy. And I think it all goes back to this clean energy plan, which is nothing more than sort of a watered-down version of the Green New Deal. It's just anti-fossil fuel. It's anti-fossil fuel and it will serve to increase electricity prices. What's really concerning, Don, is that not only does Governor Cooper embrace this idea that we don't need this infrastructure and that renewables is what we need to do and he doesn't like fossil fuel, et cetera. We're seeing that at the federal level as well. There's a big discussion in the presidential election about energy policy going forward. So Governor Cooper seems to be on board with the leftist view of where we should be going. But that still leaves North Carolina with no pipeline. Again, I think it is a very unfortunate and ill-thought-out strategy and we're going to see higher electricity prices.

We're going to see a reduction in our standard of living and it is not the right answer. We've been talking with Dr. Don Vandervoort. He is a senior fellow here at the John Locke Foundation. Don, thanks for joining us. Thank you.

That's all the time we have for the program this week. Thank you for listening. Hope you'll join us again next week for another edition of Carolina Journal Radio. Carolina Journal Radio is a program of the John Locke Foundation. To learn more about the John Locke Foundation, including donations that support programs like Carolina Journal Radio, send email to development at or call 1-866-JLF-INFO.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-17 04:06:24 / 2024-03-17 04:23:01 / 17

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