Footnotes Issue #78: Jan 17th, 2014
Looking Back, Looking Forward
The Georgia Sierra Club had quite an eventful year last year! We celebrated big wins and laid the foundation for even more victiories this year. Here is a quick update on the work each of our committees have been doing:
Smart Energy Solutions Committee - Last year kicked off with Georgia Power's announcement that it would be retiring about 25% of their coal fleet. The GA Beyond Coal team worked to attend several hearings which led to the Public Service Commission's vote to double Georgia Power's solar energy offerings by adding 525 megawatts of new solar energy by 2016. Towards the year's end, we opposed Georgia Power's proposed rate increase and successfully defeated the proposed solar tax. This year, the Beyond Coal campaign will continue to work to clean-up Georgia's air and protect clean water by retiring old dirty coal plants and promoting the expansion of affordable wind and solar energy in the state.
Regional Action to Improve Livability (RAIL) Committee: Despite cries that there was no "Plan B" after voters rejected TSPLOST, the RAIL Campaign has been working to provide real transportation options for all Georgians. The campaign recieved mentions in several news outlets for its work on restoring bus service in Clayton County. In 2014, the campaign will continue its efforts expand Georgia’s transit network; develop statewide support for transit including funding alternatives; and create more livable, walkable, bikable communities in order to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.
Wildlands and Wildlife Committee: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act -- the landmark 1964 law that provides the highest level of legal protection for America's wild and undeveloped federal lands. The Wildlands Committee plans to celebrate this anniversary with outings to wilderness areas in Georgia during the 2014 John Muir Outings Series. On each Saturday in April, there will be an outing to a different wilderness area in Georgia. Stay tuned for more information!
Legislative Committee: Numerous issues of importance to the state's future will come up during this legislative session. There is agreement that transportation funding alternatives are needed, which HB195 and SB 92 address. Water issues continue to be critical and several bills in both the senate and house will adress topics from boosting Metro Atlanta's water supplies to protecting Georgia's waters from spills. Finally, key pieces of energy legislation will be considered, for example a bill that stops collection of fees from ratepayers for cost overuns at Plant Vogtle, and efforts to expand solar.
Join us this year as we continue to advance the work that each of our committees are doing. Attend one of the committee meetings listed below and get involved!
Quick Links - GA Power Decertifying Biomass Unit at Plant Mitchell in Albany!
Last week, Georgia Power announced that it plans to file a request in 2014 with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to decertify Unit 3 at Plant Mitchell in Albany, Ga. The company is also cancelling the previously proposed conversion of the coal-fired unit to biomass after extensive review and analysis deemed the conversion would not be cost effective for its customers. Click here to read more!
Sierra Club Meetings
Wildlands Committee Meeting, Tuesday, January 21, 7:00 p.m.
RAIL Committee Meeting, Monday, January 27, 7:00 p.m.
Smart Energy Team Meeting, Monday, February 3, 7:00 p.m.
Jan 20 Environmental Diversity & Inclusion Roundtable - On Martin Luther King Day 2014, EPOC Atlanta aims to galvanize the spirit of this holiday to spark a local dialogue on the lack of diversity in the environmental movement. Event is from 8:30a-Noon, cost is $10, click here to register.
Feb 1 - Sierra Club 101 - You joined the Sierra Club to help protect the environment -- now what? Come learn about the Sierra Club and how to get involved in our local efforts. Open to members and non-members alike--bring a friend! Please register here so we can bring enough refreshments for everyone!
Feb 5 - Sierra Club & Beer: Water Under the Gold Dome - Every other month, Sierra Club and Beer provides a casual space (and great beer, from our friends at Red Hare Brewing Co.) for meeting like-minded people, while learning something new. This month, our guest speaker Chris Manganiello, Policy Director at Georgia River Network, will discuss water issues in the legislature. Please RSVP so we can bring enough brew for everyone!
Feb 8 - Sierra Club Outings Leader Training 101 - As a local outing leader, you have the opportunity to share your local wild areas with Sierra Club members and other community members - whether day hiking, peak scrambling, birdwatching, or multi day trekking. We are always looking for knowledgeable, passionate, outdoor-savvy people to join as Outings leaders. If that is you, why not become one, yourself? Click here for more information and to register.
Save the Date! Feb 19 - Capitol Conservation Day - Come down to the Gold Dome and make your voice heard by joining the Georgia Water Coalition for its annual Conservation Day. The day kicks off with an issue briefing and tips on how to lobby, followed by a seasoned lobbyist showing you "the ropes" on the third floor of the Capitol. We'll get our picture taken with the Governor and our strong presence will remind our lawmakers that their constituents care about environmental protection.
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