Georgia YES: Wrapping Up the Summer, Ramping Up for Fall

August 25, 2010 at 7:24 pm 2 comments

Georgia Youth for Energy Solutions (GA YES) has spent this summer working to fight the new proposed coal-fired power plants in Georgia, funded by a consortium called Power4Georgians. There are myriad reasons why these plants are a terrible idea, from the $2 billion price tag per plant to the increased air and water pollution to the 13 million gallons of water that one plant alone will use each day. Ratepayers will foot the bill for these plants in the short-term, and young people will foot the bill in the long-term.

GA YES, the student-led organization of students at campuses across the state, has taken an active role in pushing Central Georgia EMC to withdraw from Power4Georgians, and thus from funding the proposed coal plants.

In order to make this happen, student leaders within GA YES have put their shoes on the pavement – literally – going door to door to talk to EMC members about the proposal that will raise their rates. On July 10, a crew of GA YES leaders and a coalition partner from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy took a trip to Hampton, GA to talk to Central GA EMC members in the area.

GA YES Steering Committee Member Ian Karra prepares his clipboard for the canvass.

Over the course of a very hot and humid afternoon, we saw firsthand many families who can’t afford a sharp rise in their electric costs. We also talked to several CGEMC customers who didn’t understand why the EMC would invest their hard-earned dollars in billion-dollar coal plants, rather than energy efficiency programs, which could eliminate the need for the proposed plants.

Ian knocks on a door of a Central GA EMC member.

In addition to our door canvass, GA YES students have been hitting the phones, calling EMC members living around the service area, informing them of the costly proposal as well as asking them to take action. Our phone conversations were a lot like our conversations at the door. CG EMC members don’t want their rates to go up to pay for more coal!

Central Georgia EMC held its annual meeting Wednesday, August 4. We worked to turn out members to this meeting, and connect them with the Board of Directors who are supporting the proposed plants.

It’s more than likely that your electric provider, dear reader, isn’t Central GA EMC. The Georgians for Smart Energy Coalition, of which we are part, has information  on their website which will let you know if your electric provider is funding new coal plants.

Now, with the fall semester started at most college campuses in Georgia, GA YES is switching to a full court press of Georgia’s candidates for statewide election: Gubernatorial candidates and Senate candidates. The next Governor of Georgia will have the ability to appoint new members to the Environmental Protection Division, which permits water use and air use for new and existing coal plants. The water permits issued to the proposed Plant Washington coal plant in Sandersville, GA, were sent back to Georgia EPD after the judge found they were issued improperly.

Currently, Senator Johnny Isakson is up for re-election; though clean energy legislation has not yet made its way to the Senate floor for a vote during this session, it may in the next Congress. Young people across the state will be pressing Senator Isakson and his challengers, Democrat Mike Thurmond and Libertarian Chuck Donovan, on their positions on new coal plants and clean energy. We recently posted about our experience speaking to candidates at an Augusta forum on water issues. Keep checking back for more info on how our campaign is going! To get involved, visit our website at www.climateaction.net.

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Entry filed under: southern energy network.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Adelaide  |  September 15, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    loving this

    Reply
  • […] and promote a clean energy future. Now, the Southern Energy Network, UGA Go Green Alliance, and Georgia Youth for Energy Solutions are excited to host the 6th Southeast Student Renewable Energy Conference at the University of […]

    Reply

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