EPA’s Clean Power Plan: A Positive Step Towards Energy Equity

This blog was written by Amelia Shenstone, former Regional Advocacy Director with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | August 20, 2015 | Energy Justice, Energy Policy
With President Obama’s announcement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), supporters of Georgia’s low-income communities stand together under the banner of the Just Energy Circle (JEC) in applauding and supporting the regulations. JEC members are eager to work with state leaders to ensure Georgia’s implementation plan equitably balances the social, environmental and economic interests of all communities, and especially its most vulnerable ones.

JEC also supports the new proposed “early credit program” for energy efficiency savings achieved in 2020 and 2021 by low-income communities. The CPP also clarifies the broad range of energy efficiency savings that can be counted, increasing the likelihood that states will include energy efficiency in their implementation plans. JEC appreciates the Administration’s attention to the energy needs of vulnerable communities and encourages full implementation of the proposed clean energy incentive program, as well as outreach and engagement with low-income stakeholders. JEC remains concerned about the environmental impacts on low-income communities near power plants.

“We don’t always think about where we get our energy, but it really has a huge impact on all of us, from our monthly bills to pollution that sends our kids to the hospital with asthma, to the availability of local jobs,” said Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer of Partnership for Southern Equity. “The Clean Power Plan  provides an opportunity for Georgians to learn about our energy choices, and to get involved in supporting more sustainable forms of energy  that work for everyone.”

“Many of the climate solutions utilities can choose to implement under the Clean Power Plan can also provide relief for these communities. For example, well-designed, affordably financed energy efficiency programs can provide the same level of comfort for families while lowering power bills and reducing the burden on our power plants,” added Amelia Shenstone of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

“It’s the folks who come to us for emergency utility bill assistance who most need help to keep their bills down,” explained Dr. Joyce Dorsey, CEO of the Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority. “I really hope Georgia will focus on energy efficiency, to assist ‘the least of these’ as we move toward cleaner and greener energy.”

The Just Energy Circle is an inspiring, morally-grounded collaborative effort that empowers sustainable, self-sufficient communities and participation in developing clean energy solutions that benefit everyone. For more information on the efforts of the Just Energy Circle, contact Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer of Partnership For Southern Equity at [email protected].

The Just Energy Circle consists of:

Center for Sustainable Communities – Environment Georgia – Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority – Georgia WAND – Georgia Watch – GreenLaw – Partnership for Southern Equity – Southern Alliance for Clean Energy –  Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance

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