For Immediate Release                                                                                 June 27, 2012    

Contact: Allen Johnson, for CFTM, (304) 799-4137 and allen@christiansforthemountains.org

Vernon Haltom, for CRMW, (304) 952-4610 and vernon@crmw.net

Vivian Stockman, for OVEC, (304) 522-0246 and vivian@ohvec.org

 

Three W.Va. Groups Join Fight to Stop Energy Lobbyists
from Killing America’s Clean Energy Agenda

Push Reflects Views of 83 Percent of Americans: We Need a “New Grassroots-Driven” Effort

 

CHARLESTON, W.VA. – Three West Virginia-based citizen advocacy organizations are joining with a network of  33 other citizen organizations from across the United States – with more than 1.1 million combined members – 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.

 

Christians For The Mountains, Coal River Mountain Watch, and OVEC worked with the 33 other groups in crafting the new American Clean Energy Agenda, which 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 any “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 removal coal mining and fracking of shale gas that is exported for use in other nations.

 

(Editor’s note: the text of the American Clean Energy Agenda is posted at www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org or available upon request to vivian@ohvec.org.)

 

The new citizen-group network, organized by the nonprofit Civil Society Institute and the Environmental Working Group, reflects a deep dissatisfaction among Americans about the iron grip maintained by the energy industry and its lobbyists 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.

 

“The ‘all-of-the-above’ approach keeps dirty energy lobbyists in control while pushing real efficiency and renewable energy solutions out of serious consideration. Americans want energy that doesn’t sicken our children and poison our communities. We support a precautionary principle agenda that eliminates mountaintop removal, fracking, and nuclear energy, while providing affordable energy and responsible, sustainable jobs,” said Coal River Mountain Watch Executive Director Vernon Haltom.

 

“Most Americans are fed up with the grotesque influence dirty-energy lobbyists have on politicians. But, not only are the coal, gas, oil, nuclear and utility lobbyists poisoning our democracy, these industries are also poisoning our communities, our bodies. We need grassroots action to reclaim our democracy and achieve a cleaner energy future,” said OVEC’s Vivian Stockman.

“America is at a moral crossroads on energy. Either fellow citizens with foresight, conscience, and courage rise up to lead us into a renewable, clean, bright energy future, or else the current ‘business as usual’ energy policy will seriously degrade our country for future generations. The science, technology, and economic analysis are clear that a clean energy future can be accomplished and at the same time invigorate our economy and provide jobs. Let’s face the future and do it,” said Christians For The Mountains Coordinator, Allen Johnson.

 

How do the three dozen groups know they reflect the thinking of the vast majority of Americans? On April 25, 2012, the Civil Society Institute released a national opinion poll conducted by ORC International, which found that:

 

  • More than three out of four Americans (77 percent) – including 70 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of Independents, and 85 percent of Democrats  – believe that “the energy industry's extensive and well-financed public relations, campaign contributions and lobbying machine is a major barrier to moving beyond business as usual when it comes to America’s energy policy.”
  • More than eight out of 10 Americans (83 percent) – including 69 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Independents, and 95 percent of Democrats – agree with the following statement: “The time is now for a new, grassroots-driven politics to realize a renewable energy future.  Congress is debating large public investments in energy and we need to take action to ensure that our taxpayer dollars support renewable energy – one that protects public health, promotes energy independence and the economic well being of all Americans.”

 

(Editor’s note: See www.civilsocietyinstitute.org/media/042512release.cfm to read the entire survey.)

   

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 a clean energy future.” 

 

The 36 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 Action Coalition of Indiana; 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; 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.

 

The 36 organizations work on the ground in the following 23 states (plus the District of Columbia): California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

 

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