Is sustainable energy finally becoming a nonpartisan issue? Thanks to grassroots pressure from a new alliance between left-leaning environmentalists and local Tea Party activists, Georgia’s state utility company will be adding 525 megawatts of solar energy by 2016.
The new alliance, called the Green Tea Coalition, officially launched on August 6th, represents a bridge between political parties in support of smart energy policies. While some conservative politicians have been vocal opponents of solar and wind energy, the Coalition supports solar power as a way to create greater energy choices for consumers, protect the environment, increase energy security and break the monopoly Georgia Power holds over the state’s energy production.
The Georgia Public Service Commission voted in mid-July to require Georgia Power, the utility company with a monopoly on the state’s energy production, to add another 525 megawatts of solar power to its energy generation by 2016. The vote, passed by 4-1 by the all-Republican Commission members, is remarkable because its success was due to the alliance between environmentalists and the conservative activists of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots.
Furthermore, in order to get their vote passed, the Green Tea Coalition had to fight off misinformation about renewable energy from Americans for Prosperity, the national Tea Party organization funded by the fossil fuel magnate Koch Brothers. The Georgia state chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), launched a scare campaign against solar power in Georgia.
Virginia Galloway, director of AFP’s Georgia chapter, for instance, warned the group’s 50,000 members that the solar proposal would “reduce the reliability of every appliance and electronics gadget in your home” and could increase Georgia electricity rates by up to 40 percent. As the Associated Press pointed out, neither of these claims bore much resemblance to the truth.
The Atlanta Tea Party Patriots broke party boundaries to expose the false information spread by Georgia AFP about solar power and to successfully push for smart renewable energy solutions.
“There are lots of Tea Party activists who care deeply about the environment. We have grandchildren. Some of us hope to have great grandchildren. I have a four-and-a-half year old grandson that I adore. I want him to have plenty of air and water. I want him to live in a world where green forest parks and mountain streams are not poisoned.” Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots. Continue reading