Unlikely Allies in North Carolina Clean-Energy Fight

Unlikely Allies in North Carolina Clean-Energy Fight

With North Carolina’s renewable energy mandate under assault from Republican legislators, green groups seeking to save it have found an unlikely ally: the state’s hog industry.

Smithfield Foods Inc. and other companies that raise and slaughter pigs have put aside decades of disagreements and united — for the moment — with environmentalists to defend the only state law in the nation that lists swine manure as a renewable resource.

Smithfield has been the target of lawsuits, petitions and political campaigns for stashing hog manure in football-field size lagoons or spraying it on farm fields. Now the company says it has found a way to green its process: capturing the biogas rising off the manure and using it to make electricity.

Unless, that is, a Republican-led drive succeeds to rescind tax incentives and requirements for utilities to use renewable energy.

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