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When water and energy collide
July 31, 2012

The Union of Concerned Scientists has analyzed the demands on water supplies in realtion to energy. As we continue to suffer through drought conditions here, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has posted new information on the current water shortage and how much fresh water is used for energy production.

Why new coal plants sit idle
May 21, 2012

New Energy News reports that coal plants are increasingly expensive to operate, much less build. Included in recent coverage is this, "Reduced demand for electricity has led companies to cancel some new power projects and idle existing plants. In an extreme case, Great River Energy has mothballed a recently constructed coal-fired power plant in North Dakota. The plant was fully equipped with modern pollution control systems, but the owner has opted not to run the facility because of low demand for electricity and low power prices. Energy efficiency and other demand-side resources have also played a role in moderating electricty rates."

Ask your WEMC Director what they know that makes Plant Washington a good investment and that the power will actually be needed AND affordable. Contact information is here.

Tarbutton, Alford mic checked at Regents Meeting
March 14, 2012

Prior to the University System's Regents Board meeting yesterday, students from Occupy Georgia State distributed flyers across campus identifying Dean Alford as their enemy. The flyer said in part:

"Despite his complete lack of teaching experience, Gov. Dealt 'dealt" out a Regents position to Alford. It may have been the $27 million he pocketed after handling a no-bid contract to develop an ill-conceived, environmental disaster called Plant Washington. Or was it the $11 million lost over 5 yeras while Alford acted as Vice President of Cobb Energy? Sneaky bastard. Carcinogens, squandering of millions, mishandling of funds. Greet the newest member of the board."

The students used a mic check (a call and response type of "human microphone" used at demosntrations for decades) to voice their displeasure with the Board's policies and actions. Ben Tarbutton III, who chairs the board, was told to "take a pay cut."

Tom Crawford reported in the Georgia Report that, "One of the objects of student criticism was Dean Alford, a recently appointed board member who has come under fire from environmental groups for his involvement in Power4Georgians, a consortium of utilities that has proposed the construction of a coal-fired power generation plant in Sandersville.

As the students filed out of the regents’ meeting room, several of them called out “Bye, Dean” to Alford."

Follow the Money
February 9, 2012

New research released by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) reveals more than a trail of money from Washington EMC members' checkbooks to Power4Georgians. SACE's research also raises questions about how a well known family in Washington County, the Tarbuttons, could benefit from the proposed coal plant.

Follow the Money exposes the complicated funding connections to Plant Washington, which was awarded in a no-bid contract to Allied Energy Services and Dean Alford. Alford is a former Cobb Energy executive and close business associate of Dwight Brown, the currently indicted former CEO of Cobb EMC and Cobb Energy.

While questions about the funding of Power4Georgians and Plant Washington have gone unanswered for years, Follow the Money also highlights the role that Hugh Tarbutton, Sr. plays in the pursuit of the coal plant. Follow the Money includes, according to the SACE press release, the potentially lucrative contract Sandersville Railroad, the short line railroad privately held by the Tarbuttons, could gain for transporting the estimated 120 railcars of coal that would be required each day to fuel the plant.

In addition to the railroad connection to Plant Washington, Follow the Money reveals that Hugh Tarbutton, Sr. owns the land where the plant would be built. He is also the chair of the Washington County Industrial Development Authority, which may issue bonds to back the project. His nephew, Ben Tarbutton III, serves as the Authority Development's Secretary.

Amelia Shenstone with SACE said, "If Hugh Tarbutton sells his land Power4Georgians his land at the same rate they paid his neighbors, he'll make eleven times the market value of the land-EMCs and members need to know the justification for those transactions."

FACE's Executive Director, Katherine Helms Cummings, who is also a Washington EMC owner member, said. "I don't know where my money is going in this process. It is a sure bet Dean Alford knows. That's a big problem. For EMC co-ops, the members are the regulators-if we, as members, can't more clearly see what's going on, how can we make sure we don't get in the same mess that Cobb EMC got itself into?"