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Clear contrast continues at PSC hearings

The Alabama Public Service Commission yesterday held its second public hearing as part of their open rate review of the Alabama Power Company.

On one side, the Southern Environmental Law Center, Alabama Environmental Council, the AARP and other leftist groups continued their call for Alabama to adopt stricter environmental standards on energy producers. On the other side, tea party leaders, conservative policy analysts, and citizens pushed back by pointing out that the policies for which the enviros are advocating would sacrifice thousands of Alabama jobs and, as President Obama said in 2009, cause “electricity rates [to] necessarily skyrocket.”

The contrast could not have been clearer — in both rhetoric and substance.

As recently as five years ago, Georgia produced 70 percent of its electricity from coal. After an initially routine rate review was hijacked by environmental groups, Georgia adopted stricter environmental standards that made it impossible for many coal plants to continue operating. As a result, 15 coal-fired plants were shut down and roughly 500 jobs evaporated overnight.

Referencing Georgia’s strict environmental standards, Joyce Lanning of the Alabama Environmental Council told the Public Service Commission at Tuesday’s hearing in Tuscaloosa, “If it works for Georgia, you should try it here, too.”

Tea Party leader John Jordan speaks out against radical environmental policies

One is left to wonder if Ms. Lanning asked any of the 500 Georgians who lost their jobs how it “worked” for them.

“Activist groups who point out the benefits of Georgia’s adversarial rate setting mechanism often leave out the results of their efforts,” Cameron Smith of the Alabama Policy Institute told Yellowhammer after the public hearing. “They shuttered numerous fossil fuel-fired plants, caused a loss of 20 percent of Georgia Power’s generating capacity, and eliminated hundreds of jobs.” According to Alabama Policy Institute’s website, API is a “non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.”

While the AARP bussed in activists to support the environmentalists, 60 plus, which identifies themselves as “a senior’s advocacy group with a free-enterprise, less government philosophy,” continued to support the open rate review process and reasonable environmental standards which are economically sustainable for both Alabama’s energy producers and consumers.

John Jordan, president of the Prattville Tea Party, spoke out strongly against the environmentalists, as did Murfee Gewin of Alabama Eagle Forum, whose stated principles include limited government, the private enterprise system, strong national defense and traditional moral values.

Tuesday’s public hearing was focused on how Alabama Power generates its power.

In spite of pressure from rogue Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn and his merry band of environmentalists, PSC President Twinkle Cavanaugh has said repeatedly that they will not mandate the Power Company produce any portion of its energy from so-called alternative sources.

Another public hearing is scheduled for July during which they will get into a detailed discussion about Alabama Power’s finances. Yellowhammer will continue watching this story as it plays out.

1. Recap from the first Alabama Power PSC hearing
2. Beeker challenging Dunn in PSC Republican primary
3. Alabama climatologist crushes enviros
4. Public Service Commissioner’s Chief of Staff, David Rountree, is at it again
5. Democrats Embrace Republican Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn

What else is going on?
1. Terri Sewell applauds Supreme Court ruling against voter ID laws
2. Aderholt believes getting too involved in Syria is ‘playing with fire’
3. Congress’ approval rating lowest of any institution on record, news industry not far behind
4. Black Louisiana senator releases stirring video explaining why he became a Republican
5. Sessions touts $625 billion defense spending mark-up with significant funding for Alabama