#JustEnergy Freedom: Indiana NAACP offers truth about solar energy

| February 20, 2015
Denise Abdul-Rahman

Denise Abdul-Rahman

By Denise Abdul-Rahman
The utility companies are marketing and promoting the bill HB 1320 and the “inequities” of non-distributed generation ratepayers (folks that don’t have solar) that are contributing to “subsidies” for distributed generation ratepayers (folks that have solar).
When speaking with Bryan Bullock, an attorney and stark environmental advocate out of Northwest Indiana, he thinks ‘SB 412 and HB 1320, must be opposed.  The bills, are funded and pushed by the corporatist, anti-democratic coalition of corporations called ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), is simply another attack on the rights of Hoosiers to determine the environmental policies of their state.  ALEC is focused on pushing an anti-environment, anti-racial equality, voter disenfranchisement agenda that only benefit the coalition of corporations that make up its membership,’
So where are the utility companies when it comes to the inequities suffered folks that live within three to 30 miles of the fossil fuel burning plants?  Where is the House Bill  or Senate Bill to legislate this injustice?
A  2010 Report by the National Resource Council (NRC) calculates that particulate matter pollution from coal-fired power plants is solely responsible for causing 1530 excess deaths per a year.  In addition, properties within close proximity to toxic facilities average 15 percent lower property values. There are approximately 90 coal plants in Indiana, Indiana is the second in the nation in coal power generation and thousands of  Indiana residents whose health and property values are impacted by these facilities.  President Barbara Bolling William contends that the “Indiana NAACP is open to having discussions about inequities and subsidies to one group of ratepayers versus another.  Particularly, since low-income, people of color and African-Americans are subsidizing everyone else by hosting these facilities within their communities. “
The Indiana NAACP subscribes to the vision of a clean and renewable energy future for all.  We realize that many of these 600 early adopters of roof-top solar may not be low income,  people of color, or African American.  But we also realize that in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King,  “None of us are free, until all of us are free”  Free to make a Just Energy Choice; Free to lead our state into a Green Economy by creating inner city jobs and contracting opportunities; and Free to live in healthier designed communities, with less toxic emissions.
“Energy efficiency efforts and solar power, along with light rail, anti-sprawl measures and environmental justice legislation, are the keys to securing sound environmental protections and access to affordable, safe energy, that all Hoosiers need,” says Attorney Bryan Bullock
The meaning of “just” is based on our behaving according to what is morally right and fair.  On December 2013 the NAACP called for ‘Just Energy Policies:  Reducing Pollution and Creating Jobs’  in our Indiana Report.  The idea of Just Energy is energy sources that are clean, renewable,  low-cost, and are better alternatives to fossil fuels.  For those of us who are not the early adopters here in Indiana, the Indiana NAACP is working to move us closer to access.  We are the emerging market.
The cost of solar is continuing to come down and the more folks that have access and are able to acquire solar, the less it is likely to cost.  Thereby making it accessible to people of color, African Americans, elderly, and low-income persons.
The NAACP of Indiana is in opposition to HB 1320 , which claims that folks that are early adopters to rooftop solar in Indiana are being “subsidized” for their utilization of the grid.  We are in favor of clean air, clean water, uncontaminated land, as well as economic wellbeing, and good health for all and we see advancing solar development as a key brick in the path to get us there.
Denise Abdul-Rahman, BS, MBA, HCM, HIS is Indiana NAACP Environmental Climate Justice  chair and an Indiana NAACP Executive Board member.

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Category: Civil Rights, Opinion

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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