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Opinion Roundup: Contentious renewable energy bill becomes law, with an asterisk

Posted July 28

The first offshore wind farm in the United States is expected to being generating energy off Rhode Island this month.

Friday, July 28, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on a big decision for renewable energy policy, a stark change in the mindset of key banking nominees, an accident that will affect two tourism destinations for weeks to come and more.

TYLER DUKES & MATTHEW BURNS: Wind farm delay doesn't stop Cooper from signing solar bill (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Gov. Roy Cooper signed a measure that overhauls the state's solar energy policy, despite an 18-month moratorium on new wind farm projects that lawmakers tacked onto the plan. Cooper signed an executive order directing the state Department of Environmental Quality to continue to work with wind energy firms on reviewing permits for proposed projects during the moratorium so projects would be ready for approval when the moratorium expires at the end of 2018.

AUBREY PATTI: Gov. Cooper right to fight wind-farm moratorium (Winston-Salem Journal column) --The legislature passed a solar energy bill. During closed-door negotiations, an 18-month moratorium on wind-farm permits was added, so no wind farms could get a permit before Dec. 31, 2018 – a move that would have greatly hurt the state. It's good that Gov. Roy Cooper, after signing the solar energy bill into law, signed an executive order aimed at promoting wind energy and mitigating the effects of the moratorium.

BINYAMIN APPELBAUM: Banking Regulatory Nominees Back Fewer Financial Restrictions (New York Times analysis) – Republicans argue that the government overreacted to the 2008 financial crisis, imposing unnecessary restrictions that are now impeding economic growth. Democrats not only oppose a rollback, but say some areas require stronger rules. Republicans described two nominees to lead Federal Reserve private-sector experience as valuable. “I actually find that refreshing,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Career bureaucrats tend to “regulate, regulate, regulate more. …I hope you all will get in there and right-size the regulations.”

Outage: Emergency on Hatteras, Ocracoke (Coastal Review analysis) -- A state of emergency is in effect after a construction accident at the Bonner Bridge left 9,000 homes and businesses on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands without power, possibly for weeks.

JONATHAN DREW: Pace of redoing North Carolina districts concerns judges (AP analysis) -- Two federal judges said they are concerned that North Carolina legislative leaders have taken few if any steps to draw new election maps since they were struck down last year, and one judge suggested they don't appear to be taking their duty seriously.

Insulting and unfair (Greensboro News & Record) -- Donald Trump once waved a rainbow flag at a campaign rally, but his strongest statement of support for gay Americans is often quoted out of context.

SUSAN LADD: How did we get here? Duke historian relates James Buchanan to Charles Koch (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Nancy MacLean's book "Democracy in Chains" traces the rise of the radical right and its decades-old strategy for undermining democracy.

Downtown dollars flow to crossroads with no downtown (Wilson Times) -- It won’t achieve the notoriety of Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere,” but as a symbol of pork-barrel spending at the state level, this one is tough to beat. Tucked away in the 2017 budget is a $30,000 downtown revitalization grant for...Cleveland, N.C. an unincorporated community southwest of Clayton in Johnston County. Local leaders didn’t ask for the downtown revitalization cash, and for good reason. “We don’t have a downtown.”

Our legislators at work (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Kudos to our local legislators whose bills were recently signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper. Cooper approved three bills last week that were sponsored by Forsyth County Republican legislators.

ALLAN MAURER: Eastern NC on the rise with growing startup, tech ecosystem (WRAL-TV TechWire column) -- The first thing that comes to most people when they think of Eastern N.C. is probably going to the beach. But, while Wilmington and the coastal area certainly attract tourists and retirees, in the last five years, it has also evolved a growing startup and technology ecosystem.

Ancient trees stand to get a state park of their own (Fayetteville Observer) -- The most remarkable thing about the proposed Black River State Park is that it’s not already a state park. Or even a national park or monument. After all, a river basin that’s home to the oldest trees east of the Rockies shouldn’t be hidden away, as it is now.

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