George Howard: No ethics problem

November 12, 2012 

No ethics problem

Regarding your Nov. 9 news article “New fracking board raises unforeseen ethics issues”:

You seem shocked to find a landowner with oil and gas revenue potential appointed to the newly formed Mining and Energy Commission. As a member of the panel, I find Ray Covington’s service – as the only one of us who actually owns such land – to be essential, not shameful. But I do call into question the integrity of a newspaper that confuses experience with conflict in this instance, while ignoring similar situations elsewhere in state government.

For instance, the N.C. Energy Policy Council, another state board with significant influence over energy policy, demands adoption of renewable resources as a greater component of the state’s energy mix. And guess what? The Renewables Committee of that board is chaired by Chapel Hill solar products merchant Marcus Wilhelm, who has urged the state to increase the utilization of such products by over 400 percent.

The truth is that neither Wilhelm nor Covington has done a thing wrong so long as their interests are known. Their valuable public service is only differentiated by the willingness of the media to single out one and not the other for political purposes.

George A. Howard

Vice-chair, N.C. Mining and Energy Commission

Raleigh

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