Coal Developer Indicted, Questionable Practices Loom in Georgia

Crosspost from www.GaSmartEnergy.wordpress.com

Plans to construct two coal-fired power plants in middle Georgia were dealt a blow last Thursday as Dwight Brown, CEO of Cobb EMC- one of the nations largest Electrical Members Corporations (EMC)- was indicted on 31 accounts of corporate theft by taking, racketeering, making false statements, and conspiracy to defraud the government entities.  The charges come after 2 years of citizen activism and litigation, and help highlight corrupt business practices that allegedly continue within the organization today- as the EMC proceeds with $4.2 billion coal development plans.

Cobb EMC is the lead financial and logistical supporter of a coalition of electrical corporations called Power4Georgians LLC, attempting to build two 850MW coal plants in middle Georgia, despite the fact that no new coal plants have been started in the United States in the last two years.  In state filings Dwight Brown is identified as the lead “organizer” of the consortium, and is the lead signature in the plants’ permit applications.

The detailed indictment of CEO Dwight Brown lays out criminal business practices in which Brown and other EMC board members of the not-for-profit EMC created a for-profit business called Cobb Energy, and allegedly used EMC membership funds to piggy-bank multi-million dollar salary and compensation packages for Brown and Board.  Mr. Brown, after transferring nearly all not-for-profit assets to the for-profit Cobb Energy, charged the 200,000 person EMC membership an 11% mark-up on services that the EMC previously rendered, used EMC membership data to sell SCANA natural gas services at huge profits for Cobb Energy, and granted Brown a $3 million personal loan- which was soon after forgiven- used to purchased preferred stocks in Cobb Energy.  All of this while Brown lied to and deceived the EMC membership, who in organizational Bylaws are charged with democratically operating and affectively owning the not-for-profit entity.

Yeah, Shady (at best) right?

But it only gets better…

Continue reading ‘Coal Developer Indicted, Questionable Practices Loom in Georgia’

Atlanta’s Climate Youth React to Presidential Debates

…. By Installing 8,000 Energy Efficient Light Bulbs In Limited-Income Communities. Joining a Nationwide Day Of Action To Call For Green Jobs Now!

Article by Beth Bond and the LRAM Team!
ATLANTA – Saturday, September 27th, residents and students of metro Atlanta joined tens of thousands of concerned citizens across the country for a national day of service and action. Let’s Raise A Million, a student founded non-profit to bring the message of green and sustainable living to limited-income communities, was one of the national day of services spot light events. The event demonstrated that people are ready to build an inclusive green economy and communities of service.
With over 100 students, community residents, and Atlanta Firefighters in attendance, a press conference and rally were held. With speakers from as faraway as Oakland, California and as esteemed as Chief Kelvin Cochran of the City of Atlanta Fire Department, the audience learned about how the light bulbs and detectors would make positive changes in the neighbor’s lives.

Continue reading ‘Atlanta’s Climate Youth React to Presidential Debates’

Protester Gets Jail Time for Non-violent Protest of Nuclear Plant in Virginia

Three of the six protesters arrested at the Dominion Resources North Anna Nuclear Power Plant were found guilty of trespassing today in the Louisa County Courthouse. The charges stem from conducting an alternative tour and sit-in at the Dominion Power Nuclear Information Center on August 7th.
The judge rejected their defense of necessity and sentenced Paxus Calta to 30 day in jail with 15 suspended. He reports to jail on September 29 pending his appeal and is available for interview until then. Sue Frankel-Streit and Spot Etal were fined $1,000 with $700 suspended. All three are banned form entering Dominion property for a period of two years. About 20 supporters gathered in front of the courthouse with signs displaying their anti-nuclear message.

“What is a greater harm here? That Dominions nuclear information center was inconvenienced and had to close 30 minutes late or that an untested new nuclear reactor will overheat Lake Anna when it is already getting to over 100 degrees most summers?” asks Paxus Calta, one of those arrested and a member of the People’s Alliance for Clean Energy (PACE) a group of concerned Louisa and Albemarle County residents who want real renewables and efficiency solutions instead of the proposed new reactor.
Continue reading ‘Protester Gets Jail Time for Non-violent Protest of Nuclear Plant in Virginia’

South Carolina talks Justice; 725+ say ‘Green Jobs Now!’

South Carolina Alliance for Sustainable Campuses and Community (SCASCC), a network of the Southern Energy Network hosted over 75 young concerned citizens from 11 colleges, high schools, and universities to call on elected officials and educate the public about the potential to create over 28,000 new jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors in the next two years!

The SCASCC fall summit, In the wake of a near total economic collapse, poorly thought-out government bail-outs, and a fuel-crisis that has haunted the Southeast for the past several days, focused on ending our nations daunting addiction to the fossil fuels that are driving the economy into the ground.

Taking to the streets, 30 student activists paraded through the party-minded tailgaters at the University of South Carolina vs University of Alabama Birmingham football game, preaching the gospel of the potential for real sustainable green jobs to lift the econcomy while solving the imposing climate crisis.

Over 725 youth signed the PowerVote pledge in just under three hours, sending a message to elected officials that South Carolinians are ready for a Green Economy to lift all boats, pull our nation out of its fossil fuel addictions, and declare an end to coal and nuclear development in the south.

Continue reading ‘South Carolina talks Justice; 725+ say ‘Green Jobs Now!’’

Corruption, Coal, and Cobb EMC

Even as courts wade through the appeals being made over the permits granted to Georgia’s first coal plant proposal in over 20 years, and young people are in the streets protesting new fossil fuels facilities, Cobb EMC (Electrical Membership Cooperative) is pushing through with its plans to build a second dirty coal burner in the state.

Their plans though, have not gone uncontested. Students from around the state have assisted community members in forming the local Fall-Line Alliance for Clean Environment, and have taken various action to stop the plant. Recently, concerned Students with Georgia Students for Sustainability joined other Cobb EMC customers, unhappy with recent allegations of corruption within the board and lack of transparency for members, voted on Sept. 4th to cancel the plans and oust the current board. Lawyers for the cooperative say, of course, that no motions passed at the meeting were binding.

Continue reading ‘Corruption, Coal, and Cobb EMC’

Growing a Greener Peach-State

Youth at Environmental-Action Conference work for Climate Change Solutions

(Atlanta, Ga) Georgia’s young people are working to cure our nations energy crisis and are going green in a big way.  This Labor Day weekend, over 150 students and youth leaders from around Georgia participated in the third annual GreenPeach! Youth Environmental-Action Conference hosted by  Georgia Students for Sustainability and the Southern Energy Network.

The GreenPeach celebrated the work students have already done to green campuses around the state, and provided workshops to enhance participant knowledge of state environmental issues, like the affects of climate change on Georgia’s agricultural industry.  Conference attendees also learned the skills necessary to run campaigns that target polluters and decision-makers with the power to help green Georgia’s campuses and communities.

“Young people recognize the affects of climate change and how it will impact our future” said Kate Morales, conference organizer and Georgia State student.  “It’s motivating thousands of Georgia youth to take a stance and work for positive changes in how we produce our energy”.

Over the past year Georgia Students for Sustainability passed “green fee” initiatives, minimal student tuition increases which are used to fund renewable energy projects, on numerous campuses like Georgia Tech and Georgia State, and in the Board of Regent’s Student Advisory Council.

“Young people are working around our stat to put a stop the injustice of dirty energy developments like nuclear expansions and Cobb EMC’s proposed coal-fired power plant” said Valdosta State student and Southern Energy Network organizer Natasha Fast, “and at the same time are creating real solutions and green economies on their campuses and in their communities”.

Students with Georgia Students for Sustainability canvassed Monday, to encourage Cobb EMC members to attend the annual co-op meeting on Thursday the 4th.  Cobb EMC CEO Dwight Brown was surprised with a visit from local Pope High-school students worried about possible rate-hikes from their decision to build a new coal-fired power plant.  Young people have worked to oppose the co-ops decision to build the new 850MW plant in Washington County since the proposals announcement in January.

Georgia Students for Sustainability is a network of the regional organization the Southern Energy Network, which works to build a student and youth-led movement that emphasize a just, safe, clean energy future.

http://www.climateaction.net

Billionaires for Coal Celebrate Dirty Energy at Industry Climate Conference

Local youth activists posing as billionaires gathered outside the “Climate Change: The Issue, Registries, Forestry Offsets & Strategies” Conference at the Wyndham Hotel in Midtown Atlanta on Friday, to celebrate the proposed construction of a new 850 MW coal-fired power plant by Power4Georgians. The group, calling itself “Billionaires for Coal”, posed as supporters and publicly inducted CEO Dean Alford, President of Power4Georgians, into their society of fossil fuel profiteers.


Continue reading ‘Billionaires for Coal Celebrate Dirty Energy at Industry Climate Conference’

Energy Justice Campers Speak to Power on Dirty Energy Front

Written by Natasha Fast

At Energy Justice Georgia Summer Retreat last weekend in Sandersville Georgia, 20 youth from seven state colleges and universities from around the state came together to discuss and strategize how to approach dirty energy issues in the southeast. In addition to the 850 MW coal-fired power plant proposed for Sandersville and the fight against Dynegy’s Plant LongLeaf in Blackley, Georgia youth also discussed the Electircal Membership Cooperatives (EMC) involvement with coal, the continued disregard of customer rights as members, and the false solution of nuclear as the discussion of the future of Georgia’s energy continues.

Continue reading ‘Energy Justice Campers Speak to Power on Dirty Energy Front’

Health and Global Warming Halt Coal Plant Proposal

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings today issued a decision to halt construction of Georgia’s first proposed Coal-Fired power plant in twenty years. Judge Thelma Wyatt has charged the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) with failing to REGULATE CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS from the plant, a decision that will have NATIONWIDE APPLICATION. This is the first time since the April 2, 2007 Supreme Court Decision which required the EPA to regulate Carbon Dioxide Emissions, that the ruling has been applied to emissions from industrial sources like Coal Fired Power Plants.

Students with the Southern Energy Network, community members, and concerned citizens from around the state have been fighting Dyengy’s LongLeaf Proposal in the courts, in shareholder meetings, and in the streets for nearly Seven years.

Yet, today’s ruling is significant far beyond the borders of Georgia, as it puts up yet another economic, political, and beauricratic hurtle for those attempting to develop new Coal-fired power plants in the country. (including the 5 other Coal Plants Dyengy is attempting to build across the country). As one plant falls, we can use these victories to hault the horrors of similar proposals across the country. Continue reading ‘Health and Global Warming Halt Coal Plant Proposal’

Dispatch from Dynegy: the Next TXU?

“I said, ooo…”

 

Yeah, you know the anthem.  

 

Tonight, it’s being sung by an assortment of some 60-70 anti-coal/clean energy grassroots organizers from across the United States, in a charming little church in downtown Houston.  Here for the first time, effected young people, religious leaders, indigenous leaders, and community members from Georgia and Michigan, Nevada, Texas, and Illinois, have converged to address their common threat to health and future: Dynegy Corporation, and its six risky coal plant proposals.

 

The crowd is meeting in preparation for Dynegy’s annual shareholder meeting (tomorrow 5/14/08), and have already steeped into sharing intimate stories of both suffering and triumph around this heartfelt work to end Dynegy’s risky business plans. “Stories of farmers and ranchers who, without any doubts, tell of the drastic climate effects they’ve experienced in their lifetime” of “Georgia fisherman who’ve only desired to live and fish in plenty”, “of mayors and school boards who’ve said ‘not in my back-yard,” and “of young people who at the thanksgiving table have told their elders about the threats to their very futures caused by generations of inaction”.

 

Stories that sound much like those told almost a year ago, in this very state, as mayors and community members stood-up to Texas based TXU as it attempted to pursue 11 coal plant proposals.  That deal ended, after massive public pressure from Texas based citizens organizing groups, with TXU ending 8 of its eleven proposals and being sold to a private equity firm.  Today Dynegy seems to have put itself in a vulnerable position, as it attempts to become the nations largest Global Warming pollutant emitter, as the price of coal soars, and as customers and citizens increasingly become vocal opposers of coal, that echoes TXU’s devistating mistakes.

 

With the price of coal rising faster then oil, destabalizing one of America’s “Cheap” “Home-Grown” energy sources, investors around the country are realizing that unhealth coal-fired power plants are ever-more becoming risky, and lets say ‘less then intelligent’, investments.

 

Citizens have traveled tens of thousands of miles to educate shareholders and customers, engage the media, and influence board members about the serious financial, health, and environmental risk of building new coal fired power plant facilities of ANY kind. (coal prices increasing faster then oil and upcoming carbon legislation). And to continue the national movement, of individuals expressing, neighbor by neighbor, one after the other, information, sentiments, and ambitions about moving a society beyond financially risky and unhealthy Coal proposals like that of the Dynegy Corporation.

 

Stay tuned for a low-down on tomorrow’s events.

 


Seth Gunning


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