I can’t believe that I am already entering my fourth week at the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club in Raleigh. My time at the Sierra Club so far has been a flurry of activity. On my first day, I was assigned about 5 projects to work on and it seems like whenever I finish one, there are always a couple more to take its place. My projects range on topics from Solar Energy and net metering to Offshore/ Onshore Wind Energy. These are my long-standing projects and I do research on them here and there when I have down time. Even though 5 projects seems like a lot, whenever I feel like I need a break from one, I just move on to a different one.
I have come to realize that my first week at the Sierra Club was the quiet before the storm. During that time, we were gearing up for the North Carolina General Assembly to start its short session. (They convened for short session on May 14.) The main purpose of this short session is to pass a budget, but legislators have snuck other bills in the mix to be considered. Of most concern for the Sierra Club are the Energy Modernization Act, which would lift the moratorium on fracking in NC, a Coal Ash Bill and a Regulatory Reform Bill. There are other concerning bills that have been filed including a Local Ordinances Bill and a Farm GPS bill.
One of the things I like about my internship at the Sierra Club is that my day is never predictable. Some days I work in the office, tracking bills, doing research and preparing factsheets on bills, but other days, I am right in the thick of the action- attending Senate and House sessions or committee meetings and lobbying legislators. It was intimidating at first to lobby legislators, but it has gotten much easier. (Especially once you realize just stopping to chat with someone goes a long way.) It’s been really exciting to see the factsheets that I have worked on going to legislators.
I have been amazed at how fast everything moves in the General Assembly. Bills are filed, sent to committee and then before you know it, on the floor of the House and Senate undergoing first, second and third readings. Once the Senate and House pass the bill on the third reading, it goes to the governor for approval and then becomes law. The short session is expected to end July 1st and it seems hard to believe that they will accomplish everything they want in such a short period of time. I am looking forward to the next month as bills continue to move through the General Assembly.