1. Southeastern support for a national renewable energy standard
To help create and advance solutions to global warming, SACE is working to build southeastern support for important climate policies that bring us closer to a clean energy future. One of those policies is a national Renewable Energy Standard (RES), which would require electricity providers to supply a specific percentage of electricity from clean, renewable sources. Making a commitment to renewable energy will create jobs in our region, help reduce our global warming pollution and decrease our dependence on foreign energy sources. The Southeast has the technology and the resource potential to use more renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and biomass instead of outdated, dirty coal and high-risk nuclear sources. A new SACE report, Yes We Can: Southern Solutions for a National Renewable Energy Standard, demonstrates the Southeast’s capacity to meet a strong renewable energy standard and dispels the myth that the Southeast has insufficient renewable resources located in our region. Although many states in the country have developed their own renewable energy standards, North Carolina is the only southeastern state to implement one. The Southeast needs a national standard to incentivize renewable energy development in our region to protect public health, conserve our natural resources, create new jobs, and strengthen the region’s economy.
Join SACE in supporting a robust national renewable energy standard to diversify our energy mix, create new job opportunities, improve our national security and reduce our global warming pollution. Click here to view SACE’s March webinar presentation and learn more about what you can do to support a national renewable energy standard.
2. Clean energy stimulus bill signed into law
On February 17, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science—an appropriate place to sign an economic recovery package that includes up to $78.6 billion of investments and incentives for clean energy. Some of the key provisions include: • $5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
• $3.2 billion for Energy Efficiency Block Grants
• $3.1 billion for the State Energy Program
• $4.5 billion to improve energy efficiency in federal buildings
• $500 million for green jobs
• $8 billion for inter-city, high-speed rail
• Over $2 billion in tax credits for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
• Extended tax credits for renewable energy and optional grant programs in lieu of some tax credits. These new and expanded incentives for clean energy will help to boost our economy and create new job opportunities throughout the Southeast. Many local and state governments have already begun to look at how to acquire funding from the economic recovery package. Check with your state energy office or city administrator’s office to see what money for clean energy is expected for your community and what projects the investments will support.These investments will not only create jobs today, but they will save consumers and businesses money on their energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for years to come. For example, the bill established new and expanded financial support for renewable energy through investment tax credits for wind and solar and a renewable energy grant program. In addition, incentives for energy efficiency home renovations and upgrades are now available for improvements to heating, cooling, and water heating systems. You can be a part of the solution by making your own energy efficiency or renewable energy investment. Click here to learn more or email Colin Hagan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. TVA elects new partisan board chair
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board of directors moved to elect a new board chairman at their first meeting since the tragic coal ash spill occurred at their Kingston plant in December last year. Former chairman of the Republican Party, Mike Duncan, was elected as the public utility’s new board chair in a 4-3 vote held February 12. The decision to elect the former head of a political organization to the board chair position has been widely criticized and is considered an overly partisan move that could politicize the TVA board. These highly influential board members are expected to determine the direction of TVA for the next five years. In order to build support for clean energy and climate change policies, it is imperative that TVA board members recognize the changing political and policy dynamics both at TVA and across the nation. TVA’s influence over the environmental quality of the southeastern United States cannot be overstated; it affects the air we breathe, the land we live upon and the waters that sustain us. Executive directors representing environmental organizations throughout Tennessee Valley Authority’s service area authored a resolution to President Obama and Congress urging that nominees to the TVA Board of Directors will advance the stated objectives of TVA to represent the interest of its constituents to provide clean air and water, while being a national leader in environmental stewardship. To view the resolution, visit SACE’s position statements. Overall, TVA’s board of directors should include members with an understanding of TVA’s environmental impact and should demonstrate a commitment to reducing such impact through the development of clean and renewable energy alternatives and effective energy efficiency and conservation programs. Click here to read more on this issue from our website www.cleanenergy.org.
4. Is the South ready to quit coal?
The desire to move beyond coal to clean energy in the Southeast is clear as more citizens and leaders speak out against the use of dirty energy in our region. For instance, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford denounced Santee Cooper’s proposed Pee Dee coal plant on February 11 “because of the increasing costs of coal, the eroding economy and the Obama administration’s stance on placing controls on carbon dioxide emissions.” Stopping the several coal plant proposals in our region remains of paramount importance to SACE and specific campaigns are underway in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia.Several efforts are underway to challenge the Pee Dee coal plant. Our allies in South Carolina launched a new campaign and website called www.SCSaysNO.com as a resource for the truth about coal in the state. In addition, SACE supported an event held before the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) in Columbia, S.C. on February 12 to urge the DHEC to repeal the air permit they issued for the plant. In North Carolina, SACE and our coalition allies are utilizing both legal intervention and direct advocacy to stop another plant in the region — Duke Energy’s Cliffside in Rutherford County. Earlier this year, we testified at a Division of Air Quality public hearing against Duke’s most recent attempts to circumvent the law by claiming the power plant is a “minor source” of pollution. Click here to read our testimony and visit www.stopcliffside.org to learn more. In Georgia, a group of electric municipal cooperatives, calling themselves ‘Power4Georgians’, are trying to build the first coal plant in the state in 20 years. The 850 MW ‘Plant Washington’, will cost more than $2 billion, use 13-16 million gallons of water daily, and spew enough global warming pollution to be the equivalent of 1 million new cars on the road. SACE and other groups across the state are working actively to expose the risks and dangerous involved with this proposal. On February 24, SACE released a new short film, Saving Georgia’s Water, which demonstrates how the proposed Plant Washington would cause a significant threat to Georgia’s precious water resources. We are committed to ensuring that the South quits coal – please join us to become part of the solution! To learn more about SACE’s work challenging coal plants in the region, click here or email Ulla Reeves at email@example.com.
5. SACE launches new blog, Footprints
Join SACE and our partners in supporting our legal team that will argue the merits of our early site permit case in front of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board judges. The hearing will begin at 8:30 a.m. and take place at the Doubletree Hotel and Convention Center at 2651 Perimeter Parkway in Augusta, Georgia. Contact Sara Barczak at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 912.201.0354 for more information.March 22-25: Vogtle Early Site Permit Mandatory Hearing.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board judges will hold a mandatory hearing to discuss the early site permit for Plant Vogtle. The hearing will be held at Augusta Technical College Waynesboro/Burke Campus Auditorium, 216 Highway 24 South in Waynesboro, Georgia. See http://www.augustatech.edu/. The hearing will allow for public comments, which will take place on March 22 from 3-5pm and March 23 from 7-9pm. Contact Sara Barczak at email@example.com or 912.201.0354 for more information.March 27: Writing Green: Environmental Journalism Conference.
Join the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists for a mini-conference about environmental journalism in the banquet hall above Calhoun’s On the River. The day-long conference will address many of the difficulties journalists face when covering the environmental beat. Panelists will discuss coverage of the recent coal ash spill in Roane Co., Tenn. Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director of SACE, and Liz Veazey, regional campus coordinator for SACE, will speak during two separate panel discussions. Visit SACE’s website for event details.March 27 – 29: Headwaters Gathering: Southern Appalachia at the Crossroads. Asheville, N.C.
The first Headwaters Gathering will be held at Warren Wilson College, one of the greenest campuses in America. It will bring together writers, activists, and scientists to create strategic alliances and a powerful new voice to inspire hope and action in the era of climate change. Keynote speaker Herman Daly will be joined by activists Majora Carter and Winona LaDuke, retired coal miner Chuck Nelson, and renowned environmental educator David Orr. Also presenting are NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center scientist Thomas Peterson, author and activist Janisse Ray, The New York Times DOT EARTH’s Andrew Revkin, and National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Larry Schweiger. For more information, visit www.headwatersgathering.org. March 28: Florida Keys Green Living Expo.
The 4th Annual Green Living & Energy Education Expo will provide visitors free workshops and a chance to speak to exhibitors offering services and products that can save money and natural resources. Organized by Florida Keys Green Living & Energy Education (GLEE), last year’s Expo featured more than 80 green technology exhibitors and 30 free consumer and professional workshops that taught attendees how to make better sustainable choices in their lives and businesses. To learn more, visit www.KeysGLEE.com.April 14 – 15: North Carolina Sustainable Energy Conference.
The sixth annual North Carolina Sustainable Energy Conference will examine policies such as the North Carolina Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, renewal of federal tax credits, an expected energy-related stimulus package, as well as the volatility of conventional fuels. The event will be held at the McKimmon Conference and Training Center at NC State University in Raleigh, N.C. To learn more or to register, visit http://continuingeducation.ncsu.edu/sec.html.