Groups launch push for energy equity

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 3:47 PM
Last updated 7:08 PM
  • Follow Metro

ATLANTA — Seven Georgia environmental and community-action groups are working together to address “energy equity,” which they say is the unfair impact on the poor from pollution, electricity rates and the location of power plants.

On Monday night, at their first public meeting to launch the combined effort, about 75 people attended to hear speakers and participate in roundtable discussions. They were recruited by the groups in the coalition: Partnership for Southern Equity, Fulton-Atlanta Community Action Authority, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, GreenLaw, Georgia Watch, Center for Sustainable Communities and Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta.

Nathaniel Smith, the chief equity officer of Partnership for Southern Equity, said their goal was cooperation rather than confrontation.

“It’s not about the good guy or the bad guy,” he said. “It’s ‘When can we come together?’”

Confrontation might be unavoidable, however.

The activists are borrowing tactics from California and other states on ways to persuade power companies and state policy-makers to close, move or convert power plants. They heard Barbara Hale, the assistant general manager for San Francisco’s utilities commission, recount the long battles over closing two of that city’s coal-fired power plants. She urged the Georgians to stick together and to accept small victories.

Marilyn Brown, a Georgia Tech professor, disagreed with Hale.

“I don’t think we need incrementalism. California may have the luxury of being able to take its time because it has come so far for so long,” said Brown, who contributed research to Al Gore’s Nobel Prize-winning campaign against climate change. “Here in the South, we are so far behind, we can leapfrog. We have urgent needs.”

The groups acknowledge that their first job is simply to tell the poor and other environmentalists about the concept of energy equity.

The Rev. Gerald Durley, a co-chairman of Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta, said that he knew nothing about the issue until recently but that he became convinced that energy equity is just as important.

“Right now, this is the civil rights movement of 2013,” said Durley, a lieutenant of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “… It’s not a flash in the pan. It’s a struggle.”

The coalition’s next two events are a forum Thursday night in Sandersville about the proposed coal-fired Plant Washington and a June 18-19 Public Service Commission hearing on Georgia Power’s long-term plan.

Ron Shipman, Georgia Power’s vice president of environmental affairs, was invited to speak at Monday’s forum, where he tried to address the group’s concerns, especially about using fuel that pollutes less than coal.

“We hear you, but at the end of the day, we’re trying to make energy affordable,” he said.

Comments (9) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
oldredneckman96 06/11/13 - 04:40 pm

I'll bet this bunch did not walk to the meeting! I'll bet it was airconditoned. I bet not one person other than Ron Shipman even knows how electricity is generated! I guarantee "Energy Equity" equals wealfare for electric bills for some.

Riverman1 06/11/13 - 04:43 pm
"Seven Georgia environmental

"Seven Georgia environmental and community-action groups are working together to address so-called energy equity, what they say is the unfair impact on the poor from pollution, electricity rates and the location of power plants."

Sounds like somebody wants some money.

nocnoc 06/11/13 - 06:01 pm
“energy equity" sounds like,

another dumb socialist idea called Redistribution of Wealth.

Insure a level playing field YES I agree.

But the government taking aka performing “energy equity"
is Wrong.

But the latest take and grab and give to those that will not earn it has the usual players.

1. Liberal environmental and community-action groups
2. Al Gore cronies
3. Black Reverends champion for fame and fortune
4. Liberal College professors
5. Socialist and communist ideas re-labeled and re-packaged to sound better.

KSL 06/11/13 - 07:33 pm

You nailed it.

nocnoc 06/12/13 - 07:59 am
Rev. J should have seen the

Rev. J should have seen the writing on the wall

Has anyone forgotten the open mike comment.
Where he slammed Obama and how Obama was playing the Black low information voters, years ago.

or 1 of his organizations paying for a child's upkeep and college that was produced from an Adulterous Affair.

Like many of us say. there are 2 types of RINO's

Republican In Name Only
Reverends In Name Only.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 06/12/13 - 09:44 am

If ever there was a good site for a coal-fired power plant, the location of the newest one in north Washington County is it. It is in the middle of nowhere and will not adversely affect the people who went to that meeting.

Bizkit 06/12/13 - 01:26 pm
Energy equity and social

Energy equity and social justice are two peas occupying an Idiot pod. It would be hilarious if some people didn't buy into this doodie. While Atlanta and Columbus have problems with ozone and pollution they are addressing this-much of the rest of the state is some of the cleanest air in the US. You could argue that it isn't the poor but likely the wealthy of Atlanta who are suffering from poor air quality. Sandy Springs has really bad air quality.

csc 06/12/13 - 02:09 pm
Good Topic

This sounds like a great event. I wish I could have been there. Thanks for covering it, Walter.

Whether you call it energy equity or a socialist plot, the point remains the same that power plant pollution is a big problem that has grave health risks. If other commenters want to defend poisoning fellow Georgians and the air we breath and the water we drink, that's one thing, but I think it much better to address such problems.

The real socialism going on is Georgia Power (the monopoly) taking Georgians' money with no competition and big lobbying in Atlanta. There is no free market in energy and as such Georgia Power gets to do what they want without consequences (i.e. hike our rates).

I wish the energy equity group much success in their efforts and hope that they are able to push back on the monopoly that is Georgia Power.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs
Top headlines
1988 Graniteville slaying still unsolved
Aiken County police were certain Wendell Kenneth Gilbert's 1988 death was drug-related, but they never found his killer, who fled in a red Ford Mustang.