Citizens Action Coalition joins fight to stop energy lobbyists from killing America's clean energy agenda

Thu, 06/28/2012 - 00:00

A “New-Grassroots Driven” Effort is Needed.

Fed up with the undue influence of the energy companies, utilities, lobbyists and other interests that are making it impossible for Washington to move forward decisively in achieving America’s clean energy future, Citizens Action Coalition is joining 35 other citizen organizations with more than 1.1 million combined members are joining forces to advance a nine-point “American Clean Energy Agenda” and to push for a serious renewable energy agenda no matter who is the next President or which party controls Congress.

The American Clean Energy Agenda is available at:

http://citact.org/sites/default/files/CSI_Final_Principles_0.pdf

As crafted by CAC and the other 35 groups, the new American Clean Energy Agenda calls for a number of bold steps, including: phasing out nuclear power, natural gas, coal and industrial biomass in favor of efficient use of renewable, non-polluting resources; opposition to a “clean energy standard” that includes coal, nuclear, oil, gas and unsustainable biomass; retooling federal “loan guarantees” to make smarter investments in renewable energy; greater emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency programs; and avoiding a future in which Americans suffer the consequences of mountaintop mining for coal and fracking of shale gas that is then exported for use in other nations.

Kerwin Olson, Executive Director of CAC said: “Sometimes, David has to take on Goliath when the stakes are high enough. America’s clean energy future is one of those fights that is worth waging, even in the face of enormously well financed and powerful lobbyists that do the bidding of the energy companies trying to kill America’s clean energy future. We look forward to working with other organizations in our region and across the United States to put the health of people and the protection of the environment ahead of the mindless pursuit of more energy at any cost.”

Organized by the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI) and the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the emergence of the new network of citizen-run organizations reflects a deep dissatisfaction among Americans about the iron grip maintained by the energy industry and itslobbyists in promoting the non-solution of an “all of the above” approach to energy that would preserve the worst options and dilute the focus on real solutions.

CSI President Pam Solo said: “It is time for the communities who are suffering the ill effects of fracking, mountaintop mining, and other forms of wasteful and dangerous energy production to have a say in moving America to a clean energy future. The political power of the energy industry has deferred a clean energy agenda at the expense of the health and safety of too many communities in the country. To those who will say that these groups do not have a place at the policy-making table, we say this: These are exactly the people who need to be heard. The harms caused by continued reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear power may not be felt in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, but they are experienced in the heartland of this nation. We do not have the money, the water or the time to waste delaying and deferring serious solutions to these hidden costs of relying on an old energy path. This agenda puts the burden of proof on those who claim that coal can be clean, fracking natural gas is not harmful, and nuclear power is safe. It is time for reason and precaution over politics. The health of Americans and our environment can no longer be made a secondary priority behind energy development at any price.”

Heather White, chief of staff, Environmental Working Group, said: "Whether it be oil and shale gas drilling, coal mining or nuclear energy, this coalition of grassroots experts have witnessed firsthand the devastating impacts of mountaintop mining removal, fracking for natural gas, uranium mining and nuclear waste. We've banded together to take back our clean energy future from the seemingly all-powerful big oil, natural gas and energy companies that continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to keep us trapped in a dirty energy economy. As this research shows, the vast majority of Americans agree that we need clean, renewable energy, and don't want big subsidies flowing to oil and nuclear companies. They want us to invest in energy efficiency, renewable and technology to ensure an economically viable and livable economy. We must make a clear choice that will put the nation on the right track to clean energy future."

As signed by the supporting citizen organizations, the American Clean Energy Agenda statement reads, in part as follows: “The time is now for a new, grassroots-driven politics to bring about a renewable energy future. As Congress debates major new public investments in energy, we need to ensure that our taxpayer dollars support an energy system that protects public health, promotes energy independence and ensures the economic well-being of all Americans.”

The complete American Clean Energy Agenda is available online at

http://citact.org/sites/default/files/CSI_Final_Principles_0.pdf

The precautionary principle must be the lodestar for the effort to create a new energy future for America that goes “beyond business as usual.” In the energy sphere, the core of the precautionary principle is to prevent degradation of the environment, protect public health, preserve access to clean water, sustain the electric grid and combat global climate change, all while laying the basis for an adequate standard of living for today’s populations and future

generations .

The other 35 organizations joining together to support the agenda are: Appalachian Citizens Law Center; Beyond Nuclear, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy; Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Christians for the Mountains; Citizens' Greener Evanston; Civil Society Institute; Clean Air Council; Coal River Mountain Watch; Community Environmental Defense Council; Dakota Resource Council; Don’t Waste Michigan; Environmental Advocates of New York; Environmental Working Group; GRACE Communications Foundation; Healthy Planet; Kentucky Coalition; Long Island Progressive Coalition; Northern Plains Resource Council; Nuclear Information and Resource Service; Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition; Oregon Rural Action; Otsego 2000; Partnership for Policy Integrity; Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Sustainable and Healthy Energy; Powder River Basin Resource Council; Renewable Energy Long Island; Responsible Drilling Alliance; Shut Down Indian Point Now; Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment; VT Citizens Action Network; West Michigan Jobs Group; Western Colorado Congress; Western Organization of Resource Councils; and Women’s Energy Matters.

ABOUT THE GROUPS

Based in Indianapolis, IN, Citizens Action Coalition (www.citact.org) mission is to initiate, facilitate and coordinate citizen action directed to improving the quality of life of all inhabitants of the State of Indiana through principled advocacy of public policies to preserve democracy, conserve natural resources, protect the environment, and provide affordable access to essential human services.  With a continued emphasis on truly clean renewables, distributed resources, and energy efficiency, CAC is a firm believer that clean, safe, and affordable energy is not only attainable, but it is our right as an essential human service.

Based in Newton, MA, the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org) is a think tank that serves as a catalyst for change by creating problem-solving interactions among people, and between communities, government and business that can help to improve society. Since 2003, CSI has conducted more than 25 major national and state-level surveys and reports on energy and auto issues, including vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, consumer demand for hybrids/other highly-fuel efficient vehicles, global warming and renewable energy. In addition to being a co-convener of TheCLEAN.org (http://www.TheClean.org), the Civil Society Institute also is the parent organization of the Hybrid Owners of America (http://www.HybridOwnersofAmerica.org).

EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. http://www.ewg.org.

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