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Georgia has 4th highest power rates in the country
July 15, 2014

An article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Georgia ranks fourth in the country for high energy costs. Electric power rates for Georgia Power customers must be approved by the state’s Public Service Commission. Customers have an opportunity to share their ideas and concerns with the Commission before rates are set. The Commission also approves Power Purchase Agreements for Georgia Southern.

Members of Washington EMC (and the majority of EMCS in our state)  are not allowed to comment on power rates before they are set. If co-op member/owners raise objections to the rates they only place to voice those is with the EMC Boar which set the rates. The Public Service Commission has no oversight on our power bills. The Washington EMC Board does not require competitive bids for Power Purchase Contracts even though those contracts can span 15-30 years.

“The Most Costly Thing We Can Do Is Nothing”
June 2, 2014

Environmental Protection Agency Director Gina McCarthy announced proposed rules to reduce carbon pollution in the United States by 30 percent in 2030, saying, “The most costly thing we can do is nothing.” asthma-may-effect-black-teens-more-than-the-whites1McCathy pointed out that 1 in 10 children have asthma, and reducing carbon emissions we will improve the health of our nation’s children.

The proposed rules are built on comments sent in from industries, business owners, and thousands of citizens. The rules will require states to “chart their path” to reducing carbon emissioins by 30 percent, based on 2005 emissions. That level is equivalent to eliminating 2/3 of the current car and truck emissions, and is twice the amount of carbon released by coal plants in 2012.

McCarthy went on to note that states can work together, as some are already, or create new partnerships to meet the proposed levels. She said “the plan doesn’t prescribe, it propels a mix and match” design created by the states. She added this plan will allow entrepeneurs and investors more options to be involved in the future of power generation of our country.

McCarthy said, “Our clean energy revolution is already unfolding in front of us.” To those who say energy bills will soar as a result of reigning in carbon emissions, the EPA Director said, “They are wrong. I’ll say it again, they are wrong.”

Electric co-ops were recognized during today’s announcement. McCarthy said that many are already investing in and using renewable energy resources to better serve their customers. McCarthy said “You know who you are.”

Under the proposed rules the average power bill will go down eight percent (8%) by 2030. She said skeptics will use “the sky is falling” in response to the new rules, adding that many will point to the polar vortex as a reason not to act. Jobs will be created across the country in all types of energy production and related fields, jobs that “can’t be shipped overseas,” McCarthy said. “We are making a downpayment on a more efficient energy system.”

The EPA will hold public comment sessions across the country in the coming weeks. There will be a session in Atlanta on July 29. You may comment in writing now. FACE will be making plans and sharing them here and on our Facebook page about how you can attend the July 29 comment session, share your concerns, and help protect the health and pocketbooks of our community from Plant Washington and other carbon polluters.

Local citizens learn more about the risks of Plant Washington
For immediate release: May 23, 2014
Contact: Katherine Cummings, FACE, 478.232.8010

County Commissioners Horace Daniel and Edward Burton joined approximately 75 citizens for a community meeting at New Light Fellowship Church in Warthen hosted by GreenLaw and the Fall-line Alliance for a Clean Environment (FACE) last week. Greenlaw attorneys MaKara Rumley and Ashten Bailey shared information from national organizations like the American Lung Association, NAACP, and census records to help local citizens understand more about how Plant Washington was proposed for our community, the health impacts of coal, and the alternatives to generating electricity by burning coal. Citizens learned that:

  • 71 percent of African-Americans live in counties where air quality standards are violated
  • Almost 68 percent of African-Americans live within 30 miles of a coal plant
GreenLaw attorney MaKara Rumley speaks to concerned citizens in Warthen

GreenLaw attorney MaKara Rumley speaks to concerned citizens in Warthen

“Plant Washington won’t be good for the health of Washington County families, water and air, or wallets,” said MaKara Rumley, GreenLaw attorney, ”Let’s learn from other states’ mistakes, who got in over their heads with coal plants, rather than make such expensive –and unneeded – mistakes ourselves.”

Local citizens learned that ratepayers in Ohio are going to ask their state Attorney General to investigate the contracts that their community leaders committed them to for power from Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC). According to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, The building of the coal-fired PSEC saw cost overruns pushing the final price tag to $5Billion, and the cost to produce electricity is 40 to 100 percent higher than on the open market.

“We don’t want to follow in the footsteps of North Dakota, where citizens are paying for a new coal plant that has been built, but has never been able to afford to operate.” FACE Executive Director Katherine Cummings said, “We should be telling our elected officials and EMC board members to avoid a similar financial burden here in Washington County. There are cleaner – and cheaper – options on the table today.”

Last Tuesday, the state Public Service Commission approved a Georgia Power deal to buy electricity from an Oklahoma wind-powered facility. Georgia Power will buy enough electricity generated by wind in Oklahoma to light 50,000 homes in our state, at a price that puts downward pressure on rates.

GreenLaw attorneys said that Plant Washington won’t be good for the health of our families, our water and air, or our wallets. They encouraged everyone there to tell their elected officials and EMC Board members that Plant Washington isn’t good for Washington County. It isn’t too late to Say No to Plant Washington.

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In the News

HEALTH ADVISORY FOR PORTIONS OF THE OGEECHEE RIVER

SCOTUS says EPA can regulate global warming gases

Take Action on Carbon Pollution! EPA announces public comment sessions on proposed Carbon Rule.

Union of Concerned Scientists issue Power Failure report