Monday Night Owls: Rightist attack on solar undermines potential for a just transition on energy

Monday Night Owls: Rightist attack on solar undermines potential for a just transition on energy

Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week

Andrea Germanos at Common Dreams writes—To Support an ‘Urgently Needed Clean and Just Energy Transition,’ 450+ Groups Demand Federal Regulators Rebuff Attack on Community Solar:

Over 450 environmental, faith, and consumer advocacy groups on Monday urged federal regulators to reject a proposal from a secretive rightwing organization that would upend policies seen as “foundational to achieving the nation’s urgently-needed clean and just energy transition.”

The call comes in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and concerns the New England Ratepayers Association’s (NERA) April petition arguing for federal jurisdiction over solar net-metering policies, which are now under states’ control. […]

From their letter:

State net metering policies and distributed solar systems are foundational to achieving the nation’s urgently-needed clean and just energy transition—to address historical environmental injustices, fight the climate emergency, and ensure long-term resilience. Families classified as low-wealth and Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the pollution from centralized dirty fossil power and the ravage of climate disaster. As we tackle the climate emergency and make the urgently-needed energy system reforms, it is critical that the new energy paradigm not only be powered by clean and renewable energy, but also pioneer electricity structures that build community resilience and distribute wealth, power, and decision-making about energy choices equitably. Solar is vital to that future, delivering benefits of equitable community development, local job generation, customer choice, and the energy security and resilience of communities in the long-term. As millions across the country face the threat of electricity shut-offs due to coronavirus-precipitated job losses, it is more apparent than ever that decentralized solar systems can help families generate their own power and decrease dependence on dirty centralized generation to weather such crises, only sure to rise in the face of growing wealth inequality and increasing climate impacts.

“The climate and economic crises are fundamentally linked,” Shiva Patel, an energy justice campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

“Our energy future must not only be powered by clean and renewable energy but have systems that address racial and economic justice through centering community control, ownership, and resilience,” she continued.

NERA’s petition had already sparked concern from two dozen federal lawmakers, who wrote in a letter to FERC sent last month, “States have engaged in deliberate, thoughtful processes to develop and implement net metering laws, which has led to the development of a renewable energy industry employing more than 800,000 workers nationwide.”

The lawmakers, whose ranks include Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also suggested NERA’s shadowy membership should raise eybrows.

“It is also unclear based on public information whether this group actually represents any New England interests—consumer or corporate—and if it does, it is unclear why a group that advocates for ratepayers in New England is asking FERC for a sweeping order preempting net metering nationwide,” they wrote.

“At a time when states need to ensure low-cost and reliable energy transactions for consumers,” the letter continued, “FERC should not upend 45 existing state policies—and certainly not at the behest of a group funded by 12 anonymous donors whose interests are unknown to FERC or the public.”

TOP COMMENTSHIGH IMPACT STORIES 

QUOTATION

“Conventional economics is inevitably destructive and unsustainable because it ignores nature’s services as ‘externalities’. But nature maintains the biosphere as a healthy place for animals like us. Growth is just a description of the state of a system, yet economists equate growth with progress as if growth is the very purpose of economics. So we fail to ask ‘how much is enough?’, ‘what is an economy for?’, ‘am I happier with all this stuff?’. Steady growth forever is an impossibility in a finite world and our world is defined by the biosphere, the zone of air, water and land where all life exists. Endless growth within the biosphere is like the goal of cancer within our body. We need to internalize the services of nature in an ecological economics system and work towards ‘steady state economics.'” ~~David Suzuki

TWEET OF THE DAY

It’s been 93 days since Breonna Taylor was murdered and the only arrest made in relation to her death was the arrest of her partner, who was charged for defending himself against the intruders invading their home.

— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) June 15, 2020

BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2009—From the Pit of Hell:

If you want to dispose of hazardous waste in the US, despite an EPA gutted by the Bush administration, you’ll have to follow extensive regulations. Paperwork must be completed and approved, the waste will be poured down a deep injection well, or buried under tons of earth in abandoned mines. It will have to be managed and monitored by highly trained, expensive specialists and inspected by third party officials, making it a time consuming, costly project. But if you’re a contractor in Iraq or Afghanistan, you can bypass all those silly safety procedures and make a bundle doing it:

They’re called “burn pits” and they’re used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan to burn and dispose of all kinds of waste, some of it hazardous. And they may be responsible for contributing to the sickness and even death of military personnel. Which is why Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire and others filed legislation requiring a full investigation into the effects of burn pits and to prohibit their continued use.

The same private contractors and military brass that brought our soldiers death by electric shower and contaminated water are able to use poorly paid enlisted men and women, wearing little or no protection, to do their highly profitable dirty work. These pits are vast. A single burn site might contain hundreds of tons of machinery, plastics, dioxin, benzene, paint and solvents, heavy metals, and medical waste—including amputated limbs

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Ramps! Water! Hundreds of thousands sick and dying! Rampant police brutality! How was your weekend? Greg Dworkin gets us back on our feet, and takes the nat’l polling pulse. Trump’s niece tells all about telling all. SCOTUS does something right.

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