Wednesday July 10, 2013, 6:52 am
Poster Credit : Polluter Watch.com
On Thursday, the Georgia Public Service Commission will decide whether to require Georgia Power, the state’s sole investor-owned electricity provider, to significantly expand its use of solar energy. The fight to diversify the state’s power supply has united some unlikely bedfellows — namely, renewable energy advocates and leaders of the Atlanta Tea Party.
Tea Party members supporting the solar expansion see it as a simple free market issue. They believe consumers have the right to choose where their electricity comes from and shouldn’t be forced to remain dependent on a single source, especially in light of the rapidly declining cost of solar.
Despite the Tea Party’s support, Americans For Prosperity, a conservative group funded by the Koch brothers, came out against the proposed solar measure last week — launching what it calls “a multi-pronged, grassroots driven initiative” urging activists to pressure members of the PSC to reject the solar expansion.
In an email to its 50,000 members across the state, AFP Georgia director Virginia Galloway asks, “What if I told you something you’re not even hearing about in the news is about to raise your electricity bill by more than 40 percent and reduce the reliability of every appliance and electronics gadget in your home? That’s what will happen when your Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) votes on July 11th if you don’t take action today!”
On its website, AFP calls the measure “renewable energy mandates” and cites the Institute for Energy Research to support its claim that “utility bills are as high as 40% higher, on average, in states with a renewable energy standard than in states without one.”
This is wrong on multiple counts. First, a Center for American Progress analysis shows that state renewable energy standards have no predictable impact on electricity rates. Second, Georgia PSC allowing solar to enter the marketplace in a competitive manner is not a mandate.
An Associated Press review concurs, determining the group “used misleading figures to build its case.”
In a response email titled “Distortions and Deception,” Debbie Dooley and Julianne Thompson of the Atlanta Tea Party reiterate their support for “deploying solar in a conservative way” and call out recent hypocrisy and misinformation:
There are those that criticize solar for what happened with Solyndra and attempt to paint all solar the same. Yet these same people don’t raise a peep about the subsidies Southern Company receives — CWIP, Nuclear Finance Fees, Fuel Recovery Charges, Natural Gas Conversion Costs, the NEW Rate Increase, Nuclear Cost Overruns, and that’s after GA Power gets billions of nuclear production tax credits over the 60 year nuclear reactor life expectancy (for their nuclear power plants like Vogtle). Conservatives need to be consistent with their arguments. We fully support all energy sources including coal, nuclear, natural gas, wind, and solar. We just don’t believe it is responsible to be completely reliant on one or two energy sources to generate needed electricity.
Americans for Prosperity’s anti-solar campaign in Georgia is just one of many Koch-backed efforts across the country working to deny the existence of global warming, stop the regulation of pollution from coal-fired power plants, and dismantle successful state renewable energy legislation.
For example, AFP spent $2.4 million in 2011 and another $6 million in 2012 on media campaigns to play up the Solyndra bankruptcy in key election states. Political fact-checking organization PolitiFact labeled the ads “mostly false.”
The American Legislative Exchange Council, another Koch-funded organization, has been working with the Heartland Institute to roll back state’s renewable energy standards, though their efforts thus far have failed in Kansas, North Carolina, Colorado, among others.
A new report from American University investigated the widespread political, policy, and educational influences of the Koch brothers — specifically the link between the overwhelming lack of nationwide action on climate change and Americans for Prosperity’s “No Climate Tax Pledge.” As the New Yorker reports, “since most solutions to the problem of greenhouse-gas emissions require costs to the polluters and the public, the pledge essentially commits those who sign to it to vote against nearly any meaningful bill regarding global warning, and acts as yet another roadblock to action.”
Contrary to AFP’s alarmist rhetoric, longtime Georgia Public Service Commissioner and Republican Lauren “Bubba” McDonald sees enhanced access to solar energy as “an opportunity for the consumers.” After Georgia Power’s initial 20-year plan included no new provisions for solar energy, McDonald put forth his own proposal, requiring Georgia Power to add another 525 MW of solar power.
Thursday’s vote to amend Georgia Power’s plan requires a majority of commissioners in favor of the solar expansion, a threshold advocates are working hard to secure. Dooley tells Climate Progress that despite AFP’s misinformation campaign, which “was based on misleading data and was not accurate,” most of the Tea Party activists she works with support the proposed solar plan because they see it as a “way to help protect the environment, give consumers choice and in the long-term help lower their rates.”
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 10:34 am
How can we as progressives help with this? It's tomorrow? It seems to me it would strengthen us for it to be widely seen that the Tea Party and Progressives can unite against big money. But how do we make that happen?
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 4:12 pm
There are areas that the far right and the Liberals agree on as well as those in the middle. However, those like the Koch Brothers have enjoyed pitting everyone against each other so they can manipulate people, policies, for their self interests.
But the rats always turn on their own, if you are not in that tiny little top tier, you are NOT one of them and they do not care about you. You are only there to serve their interest, if that is to kiss their royal behinds then they will use you for that. The people who do their dirty work, like the Scott Walkers, the Rick Scott's, and the little guy who wear tea bags off his hat. However you can be used or abused is fine with them, when you serve no further purpose then they view you like yesterdays garbage.
There will be many more awakenings.......the Koch Brothers don't care if you worked for them or were on a side with them. If they shift to something else and you don't like it, it matters not to them. $$ is what it is all for in their world, and if you can't make it for them, you either move out of the way or they move you out.
Keep shining the light onto the Kochroaches......is one thing they don't like.
Protect your Whistle Blowers......many things we know today is because of them.
Thursday July 11, 2013, 5:38 am
"Americans for Prosperity’s anti-solar campaign in Georgia is just one of many Koch-backed efforts across the country working to deny the existence of global warming, stop the regulation of pollution from coal-fired power plants, and dismantle successful state renewable energy legislation."
Love the cartoon. There really should be a disclaimer to that ad though - American's for Prosperity means Americans for the Koch boys Prosperity is what that name means. Anyone who makes their living, or gets their funding, from the use of fossil fuels and subsidiary interests should have to SAY so when they publish ANY ads or "public service" announcements. Don't we have a truth in advertising law? Why shouldn't it be expanded to include groups like this, after all, they are "people" too. The only utility cost guaranteed to be less with or without solar is the heating bill because the planet is warming so rapidly and deteriorating everywhere because of the unbridled greed of the Koch boys and their puppets.
Thursday July 11, 2013, 8:52 pm
Noted. Heartland Institute, Koch Bros. and ALEC have taken so much rope, now we can see what it will do to them. I really hope the Tea Party wakes up and smells the coffee. When they find out how they were bamboozled, they will be angry and the finger pointing will start. That must also happen within the Dem. party. We have far too many Dems complicit with the Corporate Military Industrial Complex for their support. We must take advantage of these strong divisions in both parties to come together and fight against many of these issues that are hurting 99% of us.