COLLEEN DONOVAN: 'Electricity Freedom Act' would hurt renewable energy
The egregiously wealthy Koch brothers strengthen the corporate stranglehold on our democracy with their most effective tool, ALEC, or the American Legislative Council, which disseminates ready-made laws especially to states led by Republicans (Paul Krugman, March 25, The New York Times).
This particular ALEC bill pertains to their interests in fossil fuels. A Dec. 7 article on www.huffingtonpost.com, "Koch Brothers Fund Bogus Studies to Kill Renewable Energy," describes attempts to nullify clean-energy legislation by means of an ALEC bill named in Orwellian doublespeak: the "Electricity Freedom Act." In Pennsylvania, legislation of this sort might nullify previous legislation like the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) of 2004.
Attempts to ruin progress in green energy are especially despicable at a time when people are still reeling from Hurricane Sandy and other recent environmental catastrophes. Now, most agree that climate change represents a serious problem ("Poll: 4 out of 5 call climate change a serious U.S. problem," Dec. 14, thehill.com). Therefore, most also agree that any attempts to thwart clean-energy progress will pose dire consequences.
But with a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled Legislature, Pennsylvania is ripe for detrimental measures as promoted by ALEC.
One of ALEC's most notorious creations, the voter ID law, introduced by Daryl Metcalf, R-Butler County, was signed into Pennsylvania law and proclaimed by ALEC member Mike Turzai, a Republican, as the means to gain votes for the Republican candidate for president. Notwithstanding, the voter ID law was accurately construed as voter suppression, thanks to the work of vigilant citizens and activist organizations, including the NAACP and the ACLU.
With similar vigilance that brought down the voter ID law, those citizens committed to advancing renewable energy should get involved by taking action with groups such as PennEnvironment, the Sierra Club, or other watchdog organizations to prevent ready-made decrees such as the "Electricity Freedom Act" from becoming law in Pennsylvania.