Since early July 2008, after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore ruled that the air-permits granted to the proposed Long Leaf Energy Facility (read: dirty dirty coal plant) should be revoked, Georgia’s pro-coal legal guru’s King and Spalding have been working tirelessly to prepare for an upcoming state supreme court battle, and to create loopholes that would allow their clients LS Power to begin construction on the Blakely Georgia facility.
The bill, SB 229, would require state administrative judges (those folks who hear permit appeals from the Environmental Protection Division) to defer their rulings to the Department of Natural Resources. Environmental and justice organizations who support a fair and equitable process, argued that the bill would have stripped state administrative judges of any meaningful and partial judgements, while giving DNR relative immunity from judicial review.
The bill, though, was defeated in the State Senate 26-25 this week.
Judge Moore, in her ruling that overturned DNR’s granted air-permit, specifically cited (among other things including a supreme court case which cited Carbon Dioxide as a regulatable emission) that a lower court judge had given too much deference to DNR in it’s decision.
…. By Installing 8,000 Energy Efficient Light Bulbs In Limited-Income Communities. Joining a Nationwide Day Of Action To Call For Green Jobs Now!
Article by Beth Bond and the LRAM Team!
ATLANTA – Saturday, September 27th, residents and students of metro Atlanta joined tens of thousands of concerned citizens across the country for a national day of service and action. Let’s Raise A Million, a student founded non-profit to bring the message of green and sustainable living to limited-income communities, was one of the national day of services spot light events. The event demonstrated that people are ready to build an inclusive green economy and communities of service.
With over 100 students, community residents, and Atlanta Firefighters in attendance, a press conference and rally were held. With speakers from as faraway as Oakland, California and as esteemed as Chief Kelvin Cochran of the City of Atlanta Fire Department, the audience learned about how the light bulbs and detectors would make positive changes in the neighbor’s lives.
South Carolina Alliance for Sustainable Campuses and Community (SCASCC), a network of the Southern Energy Network hosted over 75 young concerned citizens from 11 colleges, high schools, and universities to call on elected officials and educate the public about the potential to create over 28,000 new jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors in the next two years!
The SCASCC fall summit, In the wake of a near total economic collapse, poorly thought-out government bail-outs, and a fuel-crisis that has haunted the Southeast for the past several days, focused on ending our nations daunting addiction to the fossil fuels that are driving the economy into the ground.
Taking to the streets, 30 student activists paraded through the party-minded tailgaters at the University of South Carolina vs University of Alabama Birmingham football game, preaching the gospel of the potential for real sustainable green jobs to lift the econcomy while solving the imposing climate crisis.
Over 725 youth signed the PowerVote pledge in just under three hours, sending a message to elected officials that South Carolinians are ready for a Green Economy to lift all boats, pull our nation out of its fossil fuel addictions, and declare an end to coal and nuclear development in the south.
Even as courts wade through the appeals being made over the permits granted to Georgia’s first coal plant proposal in over 20 years, and young peole are in the streets protesting new fossil fuels facilities, Cobb EMC (Electrical Membership Cooperative) is pushing through with its plans to build a second dirty coal burner in the state.
Their plans though, have not gone uncontested. Students from around the state have assisted community members in forming the local Fall-Line Alliance for Clean Environment, and have taken various action to stop the plant. Recently, concerned Students with Georgia Students for Sustainability joined other Cobb EMC customers, unhappy with recent allegations of corruption within the board and lack of transparency for members, voted on Sept. 4th to cancel the plans and oust the current board. Lawyers for the cooperative say, of course, that no motions passed at the meeting were binding.
Youth at Environmental-Action Conference work for Climate Change Solutions
(Atlanta, Ga) Georgia’s young people are working to cure our nations energy crisis and are going green in a big way. This Labor Day weekend, over 150 students and youth leaders from around Georgia participated in the third annual GreenPeach! Youth Environmental-Action Conference hosted by Georgia Students for Sustainability and the Southern Energy Network.
The GreenPeach celebrated the work students have already done to green campuses around the state, and provided workshops to enhance participant knowledge of state environmental issues, like the affects of climate change on Georgia’s agricultural industry. Conference attendees also learned the skills necessary to run campaigns that target polluters and decision-makers with the power to help green Georgia’s campuses and communities.
“Young people recognize the affects of climate change and how it will impact our future” said Kate Morales, conference organizer and Georgia State student. “It’s motivating thousands of Georgia youth to take a stance and work for positive changes in how we produce our energy”.
Over the past year Georgia Students for Sustainability passed “green fee” initiatives, minimal student tuition increases which are used to fund renewable energy projects, on numerous campuses like Georgia Tech and Georgia State, and in the Board of Regent’s Student Advisory Council.
“Young people are working around our stat to put a stop the injustice of dirty energy developments like nuclear expansions and Cobb EMC’s proposed coal-fired power plant” said Valdosta State student and Southern Energy Network organizer Natasha Fast, “and at the same time are creating real solutions and green economies on their campuses and in their communities”.
Students with Georgia Students for Sustainability canvassed Monday, to encourage Cobb EMC members to attend the annual co-op meeting on Thursday the 4th. Cobb EMC CEO Dwight Brown was surprised with a visit from local Pope High-school students worried about possible rate-hikes from their decision to build a new coal-fired power plant. Young people have worked to oppose the co-ops decision to build the new 850MW plant in Washington County since the proposals announcement in January.
Georgia Students for Sustainability is a network of the regional organization the Southern Energy Network, which works to build a student and youth-led movement that emphasize a just, safe, clean energy future.
Local youth activists posing as billionaires gathered outside the “Climate Change: The Issue, Registries, Forestry Offsets & Strategies” Conference at the Wyndham Hotel in Midtown Atlanta on Friday, to celebrate the proposed construction of a new 850 MW coal-fired power plant by Power4Georgians. The group, calling itself “Billionaires for Coal”, posed as supporters and publicly inducted CEO Dean Alford, President of Power4Georgians, into their society of fossil fuel profiteers.
The conference, hosted by industry law firm King and Spalding, held a variety of ‘industry strategy’ seminars for utility industry executives looking to find business opportunity in a world concerned with climate change. During Friday’s lunch break, activists entered the conference calling for Dean Alford to accept his induction, citing Power4Georgians plans as a success for the extremely wealthy at the expense of Georgia’s middle class. Power4Georgian’s a consortium of 10 Georgia Electric Membership Cooperatives (EMC), including Cobb and Greystone EMC, recently announced plans to build the proposed Plant Washington outside of Sandersville, Georgia.
“As energy prices continue to skyrocket, CEO’s like Mr. Alford who invest in coal and oil help to ‘green’ the pockets of billionaires like ourselves, all at the expense of the average rate-payer” said Jackie Murray, a student from Valdosta State University. The group, an offshoot of the local Georgia Students for Sustainability, pointed to the rising price of fossil fuels like coal in contrast to recent utility company reports of record-breaking profits. Young activists also facetiously denied the benefits of renewable energy as a means to bolster the local economy, saying that new technologies put “people before profits”. CEO Alford’s speach was entitled “Climate Change and Corporate Oppurtunity”.
Georgia Students for Sustainability, a coalition of university and high-school environmental and social justice groups from across the state, has joined with community organizations and national environmental groups to oppose the coal-plant proposed for Sandersville, Georgia. Several community organizations have formed to oppose the plant in EMC territories around the state, including Cobb and Washington EMC, citing health, environmental, and economic issues among their concerns.
“We are truly happy that coal investment opportunities continue to be available, despite rising prices and environmental concerns that leave behind America’s lower and middle class communities,” said Natasha Fast, organizer for the Southern Energy Network, “role models like Dean Alford provide a great deal of wealth security to billionaires like us.” Dean Alford, who has acted as spokesman for the protested project, also owns Allied Energy Services, the contract company chosen by Power4Georgians to construct the proposed $2 billion dollar facility.
Georgia Students for Sustainability is supported by the Southern Energy Network, an inclusive youth based organization which works to promote environmental and social justice acorss the southeast. The group works in partnership with the Energy Action Coalition a national youth-based organization focused on creating economically sound solutions to the climate change crisis.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings today issued a decision to halt construction of Georgia’s first proposed Coal-Fired power plant in twenty years. Judge Thelma Wyatt has charged the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) with failing to REGULATE CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS from the plant, a decision that will have NATIONWIDE APPLICATION. This is the first time since the April 2, 2007 Supreme Court Decision which required the EPA to regulate Carbon Dioxide Emissions, that the ruling has been applied to emissions from industrial sources like Coal Fired Power Plants.
Students with the Southern Energy Network, community members, and concerned citizens from around the state have been fighting Dyengy’s LongLeaf Proposal in the courts, in shareholder meetings, and in the streets for nearly Seven years.
Yet, today’s ruling is significant far beyond the borders of Georgia, as it puts up yet another economic, political, and beauricratic hurtle for those attempting to develop new Coal-fired power plants in the country. (including the 5 other Coal Plants Dyengy is attempting to build across the country). As one plant falls, we can use these victories to hault the horrors of similar proposals across the country.
Plaintiffs in the Georgia Dynegy case argued that a look into best available control technologies for carbon dioxide were not included when the Longleaf Air Quality permit was issued. Dyengy now has the option of re-completing the air-quality permit application process (which they began 5 1/2 years ago) or appealing the case and risk taking their arguments to the supreme court. The Judge also ruled on several other accounts, including Fine Particulate matter control, that the Georgia Environmental Protection Division was out of compliance with regulations required in writing air quality permits.
Today’s ruling will act as a landmark decision in the fight to transform America’s energy economy away from the dirty grip of our coal affliction and onto a renewable energy and energy efficiency fueled future.
Party Invitations Coming Soon.
Environmental activists from six states -Michigan, Nevada, Georgia, Texas, Iowa, and Illinois – converged today to urge the Houston-based Dynegy corporation to halt construction on its six proposed coal plants.
Outside the meeting 100 activists rallied to speak truth to Dynegy’s power.
40 activists from Georgia, Texas and Alabama staged a “die-in” inside the Westin where the meeting was being held. They held space until police and security got them out of the building.
From their press release:
“Coal is a ticking time bomb for investors and the climate. From the destruction of Appalachian mountaintops to the millions of tons of carbon dioxide, mercury and other toxic pollutants emitted from power plants, coal plants are the country’s top source of global warming and mercury pollution. Yet Houston-based Dynegy plans to build six new coal-fired plants—more than any other company in the country.”
Blue Ridge Earth First! (BREF!) maintains that the climate initiatives being presented by corporations and government have been focused on promoting consumption-based, profit-driven “solutions” that only serve to maintain business as usual. “There’s no such thing as clean coal. It’s time our entire energy paradigm shift away from all dirty sources, including nuclear, which creates a permanent supply of hazardous waste. We need to move towards efficiency, conservation, and the decentralized generation of safe sources such as wind and solar,” said Willie Dodson, an Earth First! activist from Blacksburg.
By. Carly Sothoran
College of Charleston students and Charleston community members joined thousands of people across the globe in an international day of action against the fossil fuel industry. Alliance for Planet Earth, the student environmental group at the College, hosted a rally in Marion Square where participants demanded a halt to Santee Cooper’s proposed coal plant to be located on the Great Pee Dee River.
Over 50 protestors addressed the ridiculousness of a new coal plant by dressing in clown outfits, waving signs and handing out “coal plants.” Numerous petition signatures were collected against the coal plant and pedestrians received informational flyers on clean energy alternatives. “Today’s event was about letting the youth’s voice be heard, encouraging people to take action and insisting that Santee Cooper invest in efficiency and renewable energy rather than a new dirty coal plant” said event spokesperson and Alliance for Planet Earth member Carly Sothoron.
Guest speakers, Ian Sanchez of Lowcountry Environmental Education program and Dr. Matt Wasson of Appalachian Voices, discussed the absurdity of building a technologically outdated coal plant in South Carolina and the advantages of energy efficiency and renewable sources like wind and solar. “Building this coal plant from an economic, health, and environmental view is a kick in the teeth to the young and future generations” stated Dr. Wasson.
Our state spends over $740 million a year on out of state coal. If we want an energy independent South Carolina, it is time to invest in our own home grown energy sources. This new coal plant will emit 3,500 tons of ozone-forming nitrous oxide, 7,500 tons of soot-forming sulfur dioxide, and 900 tons of lung-damaging particulate matter each year, along with 8.7 million tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. According to DHEC’s draft air permit, this plant is permitted to emit annually 138 pounds of toxic mercury!
Enough fooling around with fossil fuels! Clean energy and efficiency will make South Carolina a healthier and greener place to live.