Republicans leading today's ACP meeting claimed that this whole event was happening because of "obfuscation." They conveniently failed to mention that Chief of Staff Kristi Jones appeared before a meeting of the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations in August of 2018 where legislators didn't ask Jones even one question.
In January of 2019, Jones offered for key members of the administration to "provide additional information through the open committee process."
It took until today - November 8, 2019, for the legislature to accept that offer of an open committee hearing.
Ken Eudy and Julia White, senior advisors to the Governor, re-iterated the key facts that Republican legislators have willfully ignored for the last 20 months as they sought to create a political controversy instead of helping with jobs in the pipeline counties.
After legislative questioning today, here's a recap of what we know:
- The issuance of the ACP's water quality permit was completely up to the experts at DEQ. The Governor's office was not involved in directing DEQ on the permit. Earlier this week, DEQ employees involved with the permit stated dozens of times that they were not directed or pressured by any outside forces and that nothing out of the ordinary happened with the permit. Read more about that HERE.
- The ACP has publicly said that they agreed to similar mitigation funds in Virginia and West Virginia because they view it to be part of they federal regulatory obligation.
- The Governor's office wanted to announce the mitigation agreement and the solar settlement at the same time that DEQ announced the water quality permit so that North Carolinians could have a full picture of North Carolina's energy future.
- The solar settlement was supported by Republican legislators and negotiated with the public staff of the utilities commission.
- The legislature hijacked a fund meant for economic development in the pipeline counties. If legislators thought the money had been obtained illegally, they would have returned the money. But they didn't, proving that they were only upset that they were not in control of the fund.
Republican legislators have continued to insist that there are unanswered questions. But the Governor's office has released tens of thousands of records on this issue. The Governor and staff have been available for questions from the media on the issue. The office has answered written questions. Permitting officials have answered questions. And now, high-ranking senior officials took questions in a public hearing.
"For months, the Governor's office has been ready to answer questions, and today it's clear that the only thing left to chase are half-baked conspiracy theories. It's time for legislative Republicans to stop wasting time on a manufactured political issue and turn their attention to teacher pay, public schools and expanding health care,"
said Ford Porter, spokesperson for the Governor.
- Contact: Ford Porter