Where does the State Energy Office belong?
The agency, which leads the state's efforts to provide information about sustainable energy, would move to the N.C. Department of Commerce under a state bill endorsed today by Gov. Beverly Perdue as part of a reform package.
State Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat and bill co-sponsor, admitted that might sound a little odd to some people, since Commerce typically handles business recruiting and development.
But she argued the office should focus on business.
"This office is largely a relic of the Arab oil embargo, when it was focused more on energy security," she said. "We seem to have now entered a new era where it's as much about economic development and homegrown energy options as trying to find alternatives to Mideast oil."
The office is currently part of the Department of Administration, a catch-all government agency that houses the state construction office, among other things.
Harrison opposed an earlier effort to move the office to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources which she argued was designed to undermine it. She says the new proposal is a good-faith effort.