Posts tagged ‘southern energy network’
Southern Energy Network joins with group of organizations in condemning Florida voter suppression bill
Students working with the Southern Energy Network registered over 2,000 young voters in Florida in 2010 – and our ability to register voters in future FL elections is under attack. SB 2086, due to be voted on today in the Florida State Senate, would limit student voting in a number of ways, including:
- Preventing students from being able to change their address at the polls;
- Reducing the early voting period; and,
- Introducing new and difficult regulations for any group working to register voters.
This bill will have a direct impact on our ability to register voters in Florida in the 2012 elections and into the future, as well as our ability to effectively turn out students to vote. This in an unacceptable and dramatic attack on the ability of young people to vote.
UPDATE: The Florida Senate passed the bill 25-13. The bill will now go back to the House, which passed a different version.
By Ethan Nuss, Co-campaign director of the Energy Action Coalition.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to speak at a national conference of young Jesuit’s gathered in West Virginia as part of the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s national Teach-in on Environmental Justice and Sustainability. Inspired by the powerful history of social justice work of the Jesuit community I spoke to them about the importance of Environmental Justice, the Energy Action Coalition, the need for urgent action, and of our latest campaign: Define our Decade. During the Q&A one question really stood out: “What’s so special about THIS decade? Why focus on defining the next ten years?” After pausing to reflect, I simply said: “Because we have to.”
At first the student questioner probably thought my answer sounded like a mother answering her seven year old on why she couldn’t eat the cookie for breakfast, “Because I said so.” But really, it’s true that we have to make this decade one of the most transformative in American history. Period. Anything short of that is morally inexcusable. Over the next 10 years our generation will unleash the full power of the clean and just energy revolution and secure our climate from the duel threats of the economic and climate crisis. Why? Because we have to. This is not just a campaign slogan but the reality that we have inherited an insane global emergency and failure to rise to the challenge will result in the suffering of millions of our fellow human beings. We cannot continue to live under the corporate polluter domination that is poisoning our communities and disproportionally affecting communities of color the world over. I for one can’t live with it. And I keep going because I know that everyday there is a movement of people out there that feel the same way. Let us now let us speak with a unified vision for Our Decade.
Let’s face it Americans tend to think in terms of decades. What defined the decades in the last century, 50’s, 60, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s. etc? What images does this bring to mind? Poodle skirts, Woodstock, disco, big hair bands and Reaganomics. These are forever burned in our collective consciousness. (Plus, we are constantly reminded with cheesy VH1 flashback specials.) But seriously, what image will our grandchildren see when they look back on this decade? The image of healthy, sustainable communities powered by wind turbines? It’s ours for the making! Let them see that this was the turning point in American history when a generation said; “we can’t live like this” and summoned the moral courage to restore our nation to the promise of our most hallowed values. We have 10 years to turn this thing around and it’s up to us.
Starting today and over the next two weeks young people across the country are hosting gatherings and events to vote on our collective vision and commitment for Our Decade. There is incredible stuff planned all over the country (Find an event near you or host your own) check out some of the highlights:
- Today, voting booths are set-up at tables at Florida International University, University of South Caroline-Aiken, George Mason University, Central Michigan University and more!
- College and HS students from across Missouri are gathering at the “Show Me Sustainability” conference at Mizzou and will all take part in the Define Our Decade vote together!
- The Beyond Coal Campaign at Pennsylvania State University is constructing a big art installation of the “Foundations of Our Future” to emphasize the need for Penn State University to move beyond coal!
- Michigan State University students are following up on a coal plant hearing that they held, to have a community forum on how to move the campus to 100% clean electricity by 2020.
As part of these events, organizers will be asking their peers, and their communities how they want to define theirdecade, and will be asking them to take part in a national youth vote where we gauge how ambitious young people are for this decade. Take a minute right now to add your vote and vision for reclaiming our future. And tell a friend!
Let’s make the next 10 years some of the most active and promising in American history. Our collective survival depends on it.
On the eve of one of the largest climate actions in North Carolinas history activists and organizer young and old gathered from across the country at a charlotte Unitarian church today to prepare for the monumental action against Duke Energy’s proposed Cliffside coal plant expansion. People have shown up from over 20 states, including Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, California, New Jeresey, and most surrounding southern States just to name a few.
We gathered to go over logistics, but more importantly to discuss the issue and learn Non-violent strategy and its importance in this movements actions. “non-violence is a necessary part of this action because it doesn’t allow the focus to shift away from the key issue, coal. In addition to showing your dedication and commitment, this non-violent direct action serves as an a opportunity to educate your peers, family, and public about the power we have to stand up to dirty energy” -Graymon Ward – Croatian Earth First Raleigh
The new proposed coal plant would use conventional, pulverized coal technology. This facility would have NO ability to capture or control carbon, which means all of these emissions will pump freely into our already warming atmosphere for at least the next 50 years. The new 800 MW coal-fired facility that would emit over 6 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. We expect a facility of this size will live at least the average of a 50-year lifespan, which means a total of 312 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere throughout its life. This grand total is equal to adding one million cars to the road each year!
Over the past few years as we have seen the imminent need for solutions to climate change, poverty, failing economy, and joblessness. These things, among others, have brought about a surging interest by citizens young and old and solution supporting organizations that have continuously stood by their fellow citizens putting their efforts behind real solutions, bodies, and freedom in the way of injustice and debilitating ways of thinking.
For those of us who can’t be with us in Charlotte you can follow the Greenpeace twitter via stopcliffside.org or subscribe to the Southern Energy Network Twitter feed.
Further show your support by calling into Duke’s Headquarters(704) 382-8000 & Governor Perdue’s office (919) 733-7350
Gather photos from your friends and your campus visit http://powershift09.org/wevotedfor for details
During the week of April 20th, the first hearing around the American Clean Energy & Security Act (ACES) will take place – we’ll deliver thousands of photos to the hearing to make sure that our voices are heard, and that the faces of our movement are in the room.
Many of you know that students in the University System of Florida have been rocking the Green Fee campaign all over! In fact, 10 out of the 11 universities in the state system are actively planning and campaigning to get the Fee on their campus. 5 schools have already passed student referenda in support of the Fee. This year, they took it to the state, working with Senator Lee Constantine to present the Fee in the form of and amendment to Senate Bill 1996. Following the Bill to the floor, students from 5 universities attended the original committee meeting, where it passed 3 to 1 with one absent. They were again present at the next committee meeting where the bill passed unanimously.
Late last night, we got the word that the Renewable Energy Fund amendment, along with Florida Senate Bill 1996 was stalling at the Higher Education Appropriations Committee. This committee is chaired by Senator Evelyn Lynn, who opposes the fee, which would allow schools that have approved the fee to implement it. It is not mandatory. The students are asking for it. It is their money!
If it passed, it would allow University of Florida to implement a mere 50 cent per credit hour fee, which would generate nearly $800,000 to be used to increase efficiency and invest in renewable energy. New College of Florida would also be able to implement the $1 per credit hour fee that their students and administration approved, which is the maximum that would be allowed under the legislation.
Please take time to show your support of the Green Fee in Florida! Send the email below, or your version of it, ask your friends to do the same! Help us make it viral! Link this in your Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere!
For more info on the history of this campaign, check out the Florida Green Fee Coalition.
Dear Senator Lynn,
I, _______________________________, am a student strongly in support of the Green Fee currently being proposed for public universities across the state of Florida. Myself, as well as students at five other public universities within Florida, voted in support of referendums on our campuses dealing with funding for the Green Fee. Along with student backing from the remaining Florida institutions, the campaign has grown to all the public universities in the state over the past 2 years. The Florida Student Association has also endorsed the passage of this legislation. Students are not only willing, but eager to contribute financially to sustainability efforts on their own respective campuses.
With Earth Day quickly approaching, supporting SB 1996 would be an incredible effort in the fight against global climate change. With your support and this groundbreaking legislation, Florida will have the opportunity to be a leader in sustainability efforts on campuses across the country. Please support the concerns of university students in Florida by making every effort to see that the Green Fee becomes a reality.
“UNCA celebrated Fossil Fools Day as the first day of our week of sustainable and environmentally focused events, Greenfest 2009. We borrowed a gigantic inflatable coal plant from Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, took over the quad for the day, and irritated the heck out of the poor secretaries of Gov. Bev Perdue and Duke Energy’s Jim Rogers. They received calls from close to 30 people. Within four calls, Pedue’s secretary asked us to drop the script and just say that we are against the Cliffside Coal Plant. One caller asked if he could speak with Jimmy (Jim Rogers), and, after being denied, asked if Jimmy would call him back after lunch. We didn’t get a callback but the call-in was fun. We won’t know what kind of response we got for a while but we introduced a lot of students on our campus to the idea of communicating with local politicians and business people, and we got onto the local TV news station. Hopefully we will see more people at our next ASHE meeting because of it.” By: Rhys Baker from UNC Asheville’s environmental group, Active Students for a Healthy Environment (A.S.H.E.).
One example of the dozen or so great enviro events/weeks that have happened/will happen in around the environment and clean energy this month here in North Carolina.
Environmental Week 2009, March 16-21, Meredith College
Angels for the Environment, a Meredith College-based environmental group, threw its annual Environmental Week. With the college’s yearly theme focusing on sustainability, it helped reaffirm the message that Meredith College is working towards a better future.
Environmental Week was six days long, each day with a different event and theme. Monday’s theme was A Night of Research. That night, students presented their research on such topics as deforestation, recycling, and sustainable housing. Tuesday’s theme was Animal Rights Day, a day co-hosted with Meredith’s Wild at Heart club. That night’s event involved the Piedmont Wildlife Center. Two representatives from Piedmont Wildlife Center came and spoke to the students about their responsibility to local wildlife. They also brought a few rescued animals.
Wednesday’s theme was The Business of Energy, focusing on energy businesses, such as coal, nuclear, wind, etc. The focus was to educate the students about the pros and cons of current available sources of energy. A teach-in was hosted by two students that night to present this information. Thursday’s theme was Local Foods. A speaker representing organic farming spoke during the lunch hour on the importance of thinking before eating. Spectrum also hosted a bake sale of fresh treats, including gluten-free cookies and made-from-scratch blueberry muffins.
Friday’s theme was Social Responsibility Day, co-hosted by Meredith’s Habitat for Humanity. This day was to connect the students to their responsibilities to their neighbors. Meredith’s Habitat for Humanity hosted a trip off-campus to the Habitat House for the final work day. Saturday’s theme was again Local Foods, and IMPACT hosted a trip to the near-by Farmer’s Market to acquaint the students with local produce. They were encouraged to bring reusable bags!
Throughout the week, also, a petition was held to ask Duke Energy Corporation to stop using coal from mountaintop removal. Although some were reluctant to sign, most students and faculty were supportive. Many did not know at first what mountaintop removal was, so it was definitely a learning time for them!
-Great job Meredith and Angels 4 the Environment( and all the schools working towards stronger awareness and education)!!
After spending millions of dollars to promote the oxymoron that is “Clean Coal”, the coal industry couldn’t shield its investment from a massive coal-ash spill at a power plant in Tennessee just before Christmas. Concerned citizens from all over the U.S. are standing up and declaring coal will always be a filthy energy source and we need to invest the precious time we have into safe, renewable, and clean energy.
The past two months have been a nightmare for the coal industry. First there was the Tennessee spill shortly before Christmas. On New Year’s Day, a coal train derailed in Otero County, Colorado. On Jan. 9, a leak at a second TVA waste pond at the ironically named Widows Creek Power Plant in Alabama spilled some 10,000 gallons of gypsum slurry, that same day a coal train operated by National Coal Corporation overturned, dumping 1,100 tons of coal along the New River in Scott County, Tenn.
Inside the auditorium there were maybe 200 of “them” and maybe 20 of “us”. Virtually all of “them” either worked for Duke, for Shaw Construction, or were local chamber or economic “development” types and politicians who read three versions of the same talking points over and over.
N.C. Division of Air Quality held a hearing tonight on a proposed air quality permit revision for the new coal-fired boiler (unit 6) that Duke Energy is building at its Cliffside plant in Rutherford County.Duke is asking the agency to revise its permit to classify the 800-megawatt addition as a “minor” source of hazardous air pollutants and set limits based on those emissions.
The proposed revisions and hearing are a partial response to a recent court decision that directed Duke to undergo a review to ensure it was using the best-available clean air technology at its Cliffside Steam Station. Facilities that are a minor source of pollution do not have to go through a review to ensure it is using the maximum achievable technology to control emissions.
The issue is far from cut and dry. Many local residence were far more interested in the 1,600 temporary jobs the plants construction will bring about. Apparently the moving testimonies and facts that concerned citizens, legal representatives, scientists, and professional environmental organizations did little to stifle the opinions of Duke employees as they have been fed a series of “magic numbers” by Duke Power that the new unit will remove virtually 90% of all pollutants and will even be….get this…..Carbon Free (for your non-science types coal is carbon). Duke created their new series of numbers after the unit was going to be classified as a “Major source of hazardous pollution”. Without changing 1 single thing to the design or technology of the unit Duke reduced the numbers of toxins/pollutants, emissions, and impact of the unit. The N.C. Division of air quality took those numbers and ran with Duke’s new numbers.
Duke Energy holds the power and they have their people firmly in their pockets, but the fact remains that they are severely lying about the impact of this unit and people need to realize that its not what Duke can do for them in the short term, but what they need to be doing to lead the way in a better future for North Carolina: Cleaning up their act, Creating a Green Jobs infrastructure, and putting peoples health before profit and shortcuts!
You can hear Jill Rios of interfaith power and light give her press statement and Russ Anderson give his testimony at http://www.youtube.com/RussSENNc
You can also read more about the efforts here: http://www.canarycoalition.org/
2009: Year of the Green Fee
After saying goodbye to 2008, the Florida Green Fee Coalition set dead aim on 2009 with big plans for the state legislature. A student created bill went through the legislative drafting process and is poised to be used in the upcoming March legislature session. With the bill in hand, students have been contacting their state leaders and putting the Green Fee on the political map.
On Friday January 16th students are traveling to Fort Meyers to give a presentation and solicit support from the Florida Student Association (FSA), a group consisting of the student government presidents and staff from the Florida universities.
With the March legislative session readily approaching, the coalition is trying to find sponsorship within the state senate and house. Students have contacted key state members throughout the course of the campaign, and a breakthrough is hopeful.
Currently, in a special session, the legislature is making decisions that will likely cut funding to many educational budgets across the state. Now more than ever the coalition is pushing for the green fee, not only so sustainability can remain economically viable on college campuses, but also to show that students care enough of about these issues to put their money where their mouth is. Look for more exciting information in the coming weeks.
Florida Green Fee humble beginnings
The campaign for a statewide green fee has been underway for over 2 years. Students at the University of Florida got together in the fall of 2006 with the desire to create a more environmentally friendly UF. The student group Gators for a Sustainable Campus promoted and worked hard to gauge student support for a green fee on their campus, culminating in a victory in the spring 2007 student government election. UF students supported the creation of a green fee with 78% of the vote.
In the proceeding months, other schools from around the state began to start similar campaigns on their college campuses, and the Florida Green Fee Coalition was formed. Coming together for a common goal and putting aside usual intra-state school rivalry, students worked tirelessly to advance the cause. And in the spring of 2008, the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, and New College of Florida all passed referendum with 67%, 70%, and 80% respectively. More schools joined the campaign, with new programs set up at USF, FAU, and UWF.
Emboldened by the successes at Florida campuses, the coalition moved the campaign to the state level. Campus leaders along with Southern Energy Network organizers met in Miami in October of 2008 to discuss strategy and tactics in the coming months. With the holiday season fast approaching, students took a much-needed break but were looking forward to move full speed ahead in the New Year.
Blog Submitted By: Zak Keith, Florida Green Fee Coordinator
This Monday marked the beginning of what is planned to be a week long hearing before the South Carolina Public Service Commission in which South Carolina Electric & Gas is requesting a 37% rate increase (to be implemented over ten years), to pay for the construction of two new nuclear reactors in Jenkinsville, SC. The 37% figure is somewhat dubious, as it is based on shockingly low cost estimates for the reactor project (half of what other utilities and the Department of Energy are forecasting as the cost for the very same reactor design).
Of course, SCE&G’s application for the permits to build the two new reactors are woefully inadequate in researching the potential for energy efficiency programs or renewable energy. Instead of investing our money in a clean, safe, healthy energy future, SCE&G is trying to make ratepayers subsidize their dirty energy facilities.
During the two public comment periods, in which anyone could sign up to testify before the Public Service Commission, the opposition far outnumbered the support for this rate increase. Young people and concerned citizens came out in droves to speak out in defense of rate payers, our planet and our people. The final public comment period on Wednesday had to be extended by more than two hours to accomodate all that wanted to speak. In addition to all the public comment made, dozens of written comments were submitted by concerned citizens all across the state.
Now we will have to wait for the PSC to deliberate before we know if SCE&G will be granted their requested rate increase. Once this decision is made, it is final and will allow SCE&G a blank check and the option of increasing the rates even further to pay for their construction. Even if the two new reactors are never built or never come online, the ratepayers have no way of recovering their money, thanks to legislation passed in South Carolina last year.
Regardless of the decision, though, South Carolina will not go down without a fight; we will continue to organize in opposition of this nuclear project even if we can’t protect our pocketbooks from a “Public Service” Commission with a questionable track record.