Monday, December 22, 2014

A Victorious Year For Georgia Sierra Club

ATLANTA, GA (PR) - This year has been full of victories for the Georgia Chapter. Thanks to our members and supporters, we have made strides in securing solar energy for our state, expanding mass transit in Clayton County, and turning out the largest crowd of clean air and clean energy advocates in the country to encourage passage of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule.

The year started off with a bang when HB 1009 passed the Georgia State Legislature, paving the way for Clayton County's vote to join the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). After months of work organizing turnout to local meetings in support of expanding transportation options, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners finally gave voters a chance to choose whether to join MARTA at the polls (Click here to thank them!). The focus then turned to voter outreach and the Chapter partnered with many organizations to form the Friends of Clayton Transit Coalition. All the hard work paid off on election night when Clayton County made headlines with a 74% vote in favor of joining MARTA. Public hearings have already been held on the new MARTA bus routes in the county, and we will continue working to ensure smooth implementation of the service.

President Obama kicked off the summer season by announcing his Clean Power Plan, which would for the first time limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. With the nation's top polluting coal-fired power plant in our state, Georgia has historically been a disproportionate part of the problem. Atlanta was named the site of one of only four hearings across the country. Our organizers and volunteers came together to plan a march, promote the hearing, and encourage people to give testimonies. The effort culminated in the largest demonstration of all the hearings: Over 700 people--coming from all over the southeast U.S. and throughout the state--prayed, rallied, played, marched, and testified together in downtown Atlanta to send a powerful message to the EPA on the first day of it's public Clean Power Plan hearings.

And Georgia is off to a solid start on meeting its targets. Last year, with your support,  the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a motion for Georgia Power, the state’s largest utility, to add 525 MW of solar power generation to its portfolio by 2016. Throughout the year, The Georgia Sierra Club has helped to make the Peach State the fastest-growing solar market in the country. Last Monday, the PSC approved 515 megawatts of solar power purchase agreements from the April 2014 request for proposals, concluding its year of clean energy investments.

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