Let the Spaghetti Fly!

Recently a 'report' from the Civitas Institute, a member of the polluter-funded, Koch-backed State Policy Network, claimed that rules from the Environmental Protection Agency to improve air quality would herald doom and gloom for North Carolina.

A minimal level of digging reveals that this report, and over a dozen more released in other states, was orchestrated by someone called Rick Berman, affectionately known as "Dr. Evil." When industry wants to smear something they don't like, they hire Berman's PR agency, which then fires up the spaghetti cannon to see what will stick.

In this case, Berman and Associates funded the Beacon Hill Institute (purveyor of junk'onomic studies) to write up a report announcing the doom and gloom and then released it through a network of state affiliates with a fresh, state specific, cover sheet. And there you have it, new 'report' from Civitas, on how awful clean air will be for North Carolina.

And what do we know about this new "report"? Well as my colleagues explain the sources have been thoroughly discredited and the economic analysis is no bueno.

But back to North Carolina, what we do know is that back in 2002 we implemented the Clean Smokestacks Act which set the state on a path towards cleaner air by having us transition away from old, dirty sources of power. According to the Nicholas Institute at Duke University, the benefits from that decision continue to outweigh the costs by an order of magnitude.

We also know that in 2007, North Carolina established the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). It requires that at least 12.5% of the electricity sold in the state come from clean energy sources by 2021. Thanks in part to that policy, we now have a solar industry ranked fourth nationwide and a clean energy industry with gross revenues close to $5 billion in 2014 and with annual job growth of 25% per year since 2012.

Those two policies, Clean Smokestacks Act and the NC REPS, mean that by the year 2021 North Carolina will be most of the way towards meeting the Clean Power Plan, almost a decade ahead of time.

So the spaghetti is flying alright, but it's too bad that those pesky facts get in the way.