Last summer the Atlantic Coast Pipeline received a favorable environmental assessment from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Despite that, Gov. Roy Cooper has been quietly trying to stall the project for months.

This tells me, as I wrote in December, that he wishes to please his environmental constituency but knows the issue wouldn’t sit well with most people. I called it “bad leadership” from the governor and said:

He should be direct with the people and either try to persuade them or simply recognize the real issues at play. He should not hide behind a state agency playing games with cynical stalling tactics.

Reading John Hood’s column today, I think I should have said poor leadership. Hood wonders, given that his administration is simultaneously opposing (via the Department of Environmental Quality) and championing (via the Department of Commerce) the pipeline, whether the governor is leading at all.

Still, while “clarity is better than caginess” as Hood puts it, one choice would better reflect the interests of North Carolinians, all things considered:

I’d prefer that Gov. Cooper come out in favor of the pipeline and ensure that the permitting process is completed in an expeditious manner so the project can proceed. Despite environmentalist claims to the contrary, North Carolina’s decision will have essentially no bearing on the future of natural gas production. It is a valuable and relatively clean product that will be produced and sold in any event.

The only question is whether North Carolina’s government will allow its households, businesses, and prospective employees to benefit from that.