The Koch Brother’s Worst Nightmare: A Green-Tea Coalition

August 12, 2013

Above, Chris Hayes interviews a pro-solar Tea Party  activist. The solar energy initiative they are talking about (this was broadcast last month) was successful.

“We believe this giant utility monopoly deserves some competition, and consumers deserve a choice. It’s just that simple.”
Holy crap. A conservative that really believes in conservatism. That could blow  the whole scam…


“The Tea Party has formed an unholy alliance with the left,” Debbie Dooley recalls a panicked member of Georgia’s big energy lobby lamenting.

Dooley, a co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots, doesn’t deny the charges. In fact, she is set this Tuesday to celebrate the official launch of the Green Tea Coalition – the same “unholy alliance” of right and left grassroots that has big oil interests reeling.

“It’s an unholy alliance because they see it as a threat to them,” Dooley said, speaking ahead of the launch. “In the past, the elites on both the right and the left got away with it. On the right, they’d say, ‘This person’s on the left. Stay away from them,’ On the left, they’d say, ‘They’re radical, they’re the Tea Party. Stay away from them.’

“But we got through all that bull, got to know each other, and started working together,” she said.


And it’s not the first time. In 2012, the Atlanta Tea Patriot Patriots joined the NAACP and the Sierra Club to successfully defeat a $7.2 billion transit tax referendum. That same year, Tea joined forces with Occupy Atlanta and the AFL-CIO to stop an anti-union bill that would have banned protests at private residences (the bill sought to protect the “right of quiet enjoyment” of CEOs).

The threat of a grassroots movement united across ideological lines manifested itself again last month when the Tea Party Patriots – allied with environmentalists of the Sierra Club – triumphed in a win for solar energy.

Like many other states, Georgia law, through the 1973 Territorial Act, grants a single electric utility supplier the exclusive right to generate electrical power services. The beneficiary in Georgia is Georgia Power, which is owned by the Southern Company. Southern Company is the fourth largest utility in the country, with operations also in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi.

Even electric co-operatives in the state aren’t allowed to generate their own energy under present law. Instead, they must buy it through Georgia Power, relying on a power grid that operates mainly off coal, gas, and nuclear power.

Such a centralized power grid presents practical dangers, claimed Dooley. For example, a terrorist could theoretically plunge an entire region into darkness with a few well-coordinated attacks.

Southern Company isn’t rushing to jeopardize its lucrative business model by embracing alternative energy. But thanks to Green Tea efforts and a Public Service Commission vote of 4 to 1 in July, the company will be required to obtain 525 megawatts of additional solar power by 2016.

Huffington Post:

With partisan politics trumping science-based solutions all too often these days, it’s especially heartening when people overcome political differences to let solid data point the way toward practical solutions. That’s what happened in Georgia last month when state regulators voted to require Georgia Power — the state’s sole investor-owned electricity provider — to expand the use of solar power in its energy mix.

Regulators on the all-Republican commission voted 3-2 in favor of a plan that requires Atlanta-based Georgia Power Co. to increase its solar power capacity by 525 megawatts by the end of 2016. The decision comes on the heels of the announcement that Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co., is planning to retire more than 2,000 megawatts worth of coal-fired generating capacity.

The vote in Georgia is notable not just for the commonsense outcome of adding more cost-effective renewable energy in a state ranked fifth in the nation for solar potential but just 21st for installed solar capacity. The real surprise here, after more than a year of often acrimonious debate, is the nearly unprecedented coalition that made the decision possible — a mixture of not just environmentalists and solar advocates but also conservative lawmakers and Tea Party members.

Koch-Sponsored Misinformation
The latter groups in particular had to face down a barrage of misinformation from Americans for Prosperity (AFP), an organization founded and underwritten by the billionaire Koch brothers, whose predecessor organization, Citizens for a Sound Economy,virtually founded the Tea Party itself. AFP’s Georgia chapter mounted a scare campaign against solar power in Georgia that, as usual, supported the Koch’s bottom line as fossil fuel magnates even as it played fast and loose with the facts.

Virginia Galloway, director of AFP’s Georgia chapter, for instance, warned the group’s 50,000 members that the solar proposal would “reduce the reliability of every appliance and electronics gadget in your home” and could increase Georgia electricity rates by up to 40 percent. As the Associated Press pointed out, neither of these claims bore much resemblance to the truth. In fact, at the hearing before the vote, Kevin Greene, Georgia Power’s attorney, said that the utility didn’t believe the solar requirement would cause any increase in electricity prices for ratepayers.

All of which underscores the really surprising part: even the Tea Party faithful didn’t seem to be buying the AFP line this time around. Despite the mass emails, handouts, and phone calls put out by AFP’s Georgia chapter, when the group held a protest during the Public Service Commission deliberations, hardly anyone showed up.

What’s more, a separate branch of the Tea Party in Georgia, known as the Tea Party Patriots, came out strongly in favor of more solar power in the state. Debbie Dooley, national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots told the press: “AFP Georgia is putting out absolutely false data,” that doesn’t take into account the fact that “solar prices have plummeted” in recent years. Dooley quipped that her group was forming “a Green Tea Coalition” because it saw the proposed solar expansion as a free market issue that “gives consumers more choice.”


26 Responses to “The Koch Brother’s Worst Nightmare: A Green-Tea Coalition”

  1. […] Dooley is the face of the “Green Tea Party” movement, also known as the “Energy Freedom” […]

  2. […] Mr National Grid, Mr Associated Industries of Massachusetts, still think you have an energy future? Meet the Green Tea […]

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