1. Clean Energy Gulf Challenge
The oil spill disaster that began on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico continues to have a devastating impact on marine life, several bird species, and a variety of coastal ecosystems and economies. As we watch this tragedy unfold, we know our nation must take responsibility by taking a look at how we can produce and consume energy differently.On May 13, SACE announced the Clean Energy Gulf Challenge to solicit and award a cash prize for the best plan that demonstrates how the United States can end both offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and imports of Persian Gulf oil. “People want to see a future that eliminates U.S. oil extraction from both locations, and we are seeking the brightest minds to map out a bridge to that future,” said Executive Director Dr. Stephen Smith. The top three selections will be presented to the public during the week of July 4th as a tribute to America’s movement toward energy independence. The public will then have an opportunity to cast their votes, and the $10,000 prizewinner will be announced on Tuesday, July 13, 2010.
2. UCS Release Report: Burning Coal, Burning Cash
In May, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released Burning Coal, Burning Cash, a report analyzing the annual drain on states’ economies due to their reliance on coal-fired power. The report uses six categories to rank states’ dependence on imported coal, and lists the top 10 states within each category. SACE hosted three UCS experts to tour our region in May, meeting with activist allies, media outlets, and instate Congressional staff: Clean Energy and Climate Policy Advocate Barbara Freese joined SACE in North Carolina; Director of Energy Research in the Climate and Energy Program Steve Clemmer visited Florida; and Washington Representative for Clean Energy Robert Cowin toured Tennessee and Georgia.
According to the report, the Southeast spent more than $10 billion to import coal from other states and countries (including Colombia, Indonesia and Venezuela) in 2008. Out of the 11 states that spent more than $1 billion on coal imports, six of those are southeastern states. As of 2008, Georgia spends the most on coal imports – $2.6 billion. The state exceeds the next big spender, North Carolina, by $270 million. In fact, Georgia appears on each of the report’s six top ten lists of coal dependency. Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama appear five times, and South Carolina, Mississippi and Florida appear twice. The graph below from the UCS report shows expenditures on coal imports per person, per state in 2008.
As you can see, Southeastern states top this list of big spenders. Comparing these numbers with the amounts that these same states spent on electricity efficiency programs per person is awakening: Georgia spent $270 per person on coal, and only $0.50 per person on electricity efficiency programs (in 2007). Of the 25 most coal-dependent states that appeared in the UCS report, all Southeastern states fell far below the national average of spending $7.36 per person on efficiency programs. Read a recent blog post on the Southeast’s “ten billion dollar coal habit” to find out more about what can be done to move toward renewable, clean, and efficient energy practices.
3. Happy Anniversary: SACE Turns 25
This year marks SACE’s 25th anniversary! THANK YOU for your ongoing commitment and support! Over the past 25 years, we have seen significant achievements through our work in promoting responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Some highlights include: • Halted plans to build new coal and nuclear power plants.
• Published dozens of reports and fact sheets.
• Made videos and hosted webinars on various clean energy topics.
• Started a biofuel program.
• Gave our website a fresh spin and frequently post on our new blog.
• Promoted policy change for clean energy in the Southeast. We are excited to celebrate with all of you! Stay tuned, as we will have many ways to get involved throughout 2010.
4. Clean Air Act Defended
On June 10, 2010, the Senate voted by a margin of 53 to 47 to reject a resolution sponsored by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (S.J. Res 26).
This resolution was aptly named the "Dirty Air Act," since it would have blocked the newly- released Clean Air Act rules that further safeguard human health and the environment and increased America’s dependence on oil even as we struggle to contain the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
For decades, the Clean Air Act has kept millions of tons of pollutants out of our air and water, and SACE feared an attack like this could have given the nation’s largest polluters like coal and oil companies a free pass to continue releasing global warming emissions that endanger public health and our rapidly warming environment. For six months, SACE urged support of the Clean Air Act but only Senators Bill Nelson of Florida and Kay Hagan of North Carolina rejected this rollback attempt. However, Senators George LeMieux of Florida, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee all cast votes to maintain our energy status quo and reward irresponsible polluters with decades more of fossil fuel dependence.
Now that the Senate has defeated this measure, it is unlikely that the House of Representatives will mount a similar assault on the Clean Air Act despite numerous policies introduced by Congressional members, including one from Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. For more information on these various resolutions and bills, please go to our website.
You can view SACE’s position statement issued after the vote in our policy room.
5. SACE Victory in Challenge of Proposed New Vogtle Reactors
The lead new nuclear reactor proposal in the country, Southern Company’s two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia, was thrown a curveball when a Fulton Co. Superior Court Judge ruled in April that the Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC) acted illegally by failing to provide the facts they relied upon when approving the two Vogtle reactors during the certification process last year. This was in response to a lawsuit SACE filed last summer. The final order issued May 5, 2010 remanded the case to the GPSC. The Daily Report article by Greg Land quoted Judge Shoob after the ruling:
“I’ve been asked to review findings of fact and conclusions
of law [before], said Shoob, “but I’ve never been in a situation
where I just can’t find any … I’m going to remand this back to
the Public Service Commission.”
The influence of Georgia Power, Southern Company’s largest subsidiary, on state utility regulators has always been a high concern. The illegal nature of a GPSC green light on new Vogtle reactors is an example of this company’s excessive influence and SACE was pleased that the state court judge ruled in our favor. Since the ruling, the Public Service Commission has begun to address the Judge’s remand decision and SACE will track the outcome as we remain dedicated to protecting Georgians from the serious risks associated with building costly new reactors at Plant Vogtle. We would like to thank our attorneys, Robert Smiles and Michael Carvalho, for their excellent work on this case and to all of our supporters who helped make this possible. The fight is far from over; we need your continued support – please make a donation today! Read more about this victory on our blog.
6. Upcoming events
July 6-8, 12pm-1pm: Gulf Challenge Webinar Sessions
SACE will host three webinar sessions for public voting on the finalist submissions from the Clean Energy Gulf Challenge. Selection criteria include technological viability, environmental sustainability, timing and cost of implementation, and feasibility of the policy recommendations.
Click here for more information and to register. July 9, 12pm-2pm: The Economics of Biomass
SACE’s Farm Outreach and Policy Advocate Jon Bonitz will offer a presentation on “The Economics of Biomass” at the Land-of-Sky Regional Council, in Asheville, NC. This is a brown bag presentation. You are invited to bring your lunch; drinks and dessert will be provided.
339 New Leicester Hwy
Asheville, NC 28806
For more information, contact Julie Lawhorn: (p) 828-251-6622 or (e) email@example.com
For more information about Land-of-Sky Regional Council: http://www.landofsky.org
July 9, 6pm: Asheville Green Drinks
Mr. Bonitz will also speak at Asheville Green Drinks at BoBo Gallery. The evening program begins at 6pm with an informal networking reception; the presentation begins at 6:30pm.
22 N. Lexington Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
For more information about Asheville Green Drinks: http://www.ashevillegreendrinks.com
July 10, 1pm-3pm: Solar 101 Workshop
FREE and open to the public, the Solar 101 Workshop will cover the basics of solar technology as well as its residential and commercial applications. Financial incentives and grant opportunities for solar energy will be presented. Various resources for learning more about solar energy and local case studies will be provided.
Cedar Bluff Library – Meeting Room
9045 Cross Park Drive
Knoxville, Tennessee 37923
Contact: Lauren Steier (p) 865-637-6055 (e) firstname.lastname@example.orgJuly 11, 3pm-4:30pm: Bike Rally for Climate Action
On Sunday, July 11, join 1Sky, SACE, Surfrider Foundation and FIU Intellectual Decisions for Environmental Awareness (I.D.E.A.S.) for a rally to say NO to offshore drilling and YES to clean energy! Many leaders in Congress just met and committed to passing a bill that puts a cap on carbon and transitions us to a clean energy economy. Let’s urge them forward! To ride your bike through downtown Miami over Venetian Causeway to the rally:
Meet at Government Center Metrorail Station
101 NW First Street
Miami, Florida 33128 (meet at 3pm for a 3:15 departure) Or meet at the rally:
Flamingo Park, 1245 Michigan Ave
Miami Beach, Florida 33139 (4pm)
Contact: Andrea Cuccaro (p) 786-925-1151 (e) email@example.com
July 13, 6:30pm-8:30pm: Gulf Oil Spill: From Crisis to Solutions
Since April 20, the Deepwater Horizon well has leaked millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the worst oil spill in U.S. history. How did this happen? What does it mean to Florida? How can we prevent another tragedy in the future? Please join 1Sky, SACE, PEW Environment Group, National Wildlife Federation and other allies for a public forum on the oil spill. Panelists will include scientists discussing community mitigation and cleanup of the oil spill, clean energy business leaders discussing how greener policies can allow them to grow and transition our economy away from fossil fuels, and environmental policy experts discussing the opportunities we have now to push Congress to adopt policies that will move us toward a clean energy future. Place TBA – please check our Events page, or contact Andrea Cuccaro, Florida Organizer for 1Sky and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (p) 786-925-1151
(e) firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
July 14, 10am-4pm: Summer Meeting of the Georgia Water Coalition Annual meeting for GWC partners.
Lunch will be provided.
Georgia Wildlife Federation’s Alcovy Conservation Center
11600 Hazelbrand Road
Covington, GA 30014
Please RSVP to Shirl Parsons: (p) 770-787-7887 or (e) email@example.com
July 15: NRC Scoping Meeting for Turkey Point
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting at the YMCA in Homestead, Florida to discuss environmental concerns with FPL’s application for a Combined Operating License to build two proposed new nuclear reactors at the existing Turkey Point site. Identical sessions will be held from 1-4 pm and 7-10 pm at 1034 NE 8th St., Homestead, FL 33030. Issues raised at this meeting will help the NRC prepare the draft environmental impact statement.
For more information, please contact Sara Barczak at firstname.lastname@example.org. August 20-22: Southern Energy and Environment Expo
The Western N.C. Agricultural Center
1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher, 28732
The annual Southern Energy and Environment Expo provides the general public an opportunity to see and learn about, first hand, the practical and presently available options for utilizing clean, renewable sources of energy, protecting our natural environment, and working towards a sustainable economy for the region.