36 small, environmental grassroots groups across 23 states are coming together to push the "American Clean Energy Agenda," because they are fed up with inaction in Congress.
The groups have 1.1 million members and will work to advance a 9-point renewable energy agenda, regardless of who wins the Presidential election.
The agenda calls for for bold steps, including:
- phasing out nuclear power, natural gas, coal and industrial biomass in favor of energy efficiency and renewable energy;
- opposition to a "Clean Energy Standard" that includes coal, nuclear, oil, gas and unsustainable biomass; in favor of a "Renewable Energy Standard," a proven model in states, which should be implemented nationally.
- retooling federal "loan guarantees" to make smarter investments in renewable energy;
- avoiding a future in which Americans suffer the consequences of mountaintop mining for coal and fracking of shale gas that is then exported for use in other nations.
Organized by the nonprofit Civil Society Institute and the Environmental Working Group, the emergence of this network of citizen-run organizations 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.
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 finding that:
- 77% of Americans, including 70% of Republicans, 76% of Independents and 85% of Democrats, believe "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."
- 83% of Americans, including 69% of Republicans, 84% of Independents and 95% of Democrats, agree with the 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."
Civil Society Institute President Pam Solo says, "It's 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.
We don't 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."
The 36 organizations 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 American Clean Energy Agenda is here: