Energy and environmental policy is in the headlines. The new Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy gave her first major policy speech this week, while congressional committees held hearings on a host of energy bills.
What’s clear is that, for at least the next two years, the White House, Washington Democrats and TV commentators will continue to portray Republicans as anti-environment. All while promoting policies that would cut gross domestic product and kill jobs. Yet Republicans at the state level are implementing innovative policies that reduce emissions, while saving taxpayer dollars.
Consider North Carolina. It has been the focus of national news with protests held at the state capitol in Raleigh every Monday since mid-April, which have made the state a political tinderbox. North Carolina Republicans took control of state government for the first time in over a century last November. Liberal critics now paint them as ill-intentioned troglodytes who want to pollute the state.
This narrative, however, is detached from reality. Last month, for example, the Republican Governor Pat McCrory announced that the University of North Carolina school system was going to make its campuses more energy efficient. The oldest public university system in the nation has contracted with private companies to retrofit all university buildings and facilities.
Most important, the UNC system energy efficiency initiative means significant savings to taxpayers. McCrory said the project will save the state $25 million over the next seven years. More than 100,000 energy-efficient lighting fixtures are going to be installed, the Associated Press reports, in classrooms, dormitories and other facilities across the 13 university campuses, the North Carolina Arboretum, and the state Department of Commerce Energy Office.