Posted by: Michael George Daniel | February 26, 2009

Connecticut’s Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funds and Our State Government

Below is a reprint of an email I sent to our state representative and state senator about the outrageous proposal to, yet again, raid the clean energy and energy efficiency funds to help balance the state’s general funds. The energy funds are derived from a hidden tax on our electric bill that is represented as a collective donation to the energy funds intended to support the development of renewable energy and energy effiiency. The renewable program was actually working. The energy efficiency fund appears to be a red herring, though there is plenty of written material about what they are or are trying to do. There seems to be little to show for all the staff and infrastructure that exists around these funds. Now the Governor wants to commandeer the funds for the state’s budget. Matt, an aid in Representative Linda Orange’s office told me it is because the state deficit will affect our ‘bond rating’ and cost us more in interest. I think this thinking represents the leading edge of where we’ve gone wrong.

At the very least, the bond rating issue is the tail wagging the dog: we are going to stop investing in solutions to the most pressing global, social, cultural, economic, moral issues in the history of the world to preserve our bond rating. And it will only make things worse because it will continue to fund the systems and institutions that have gotten us into this mess in the first place.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ m upset and angry about the stupidity. It doesn’t help that our hope in Obama seems to be ebbing away as he morphs into a political player from the promise of a visionary not afraid to address the real issues of the day. Ultimately this about is about finding solutions on the local level. Despite the morbid insincerity and lack of enlightenment of Louisiana’s Jindal, it appears he got one thing right: that government can’t get out of its own way to lead us to the real, substantive change we need NOW. Only the awakening consciousness of the grassroots can do that. Consider what you might do today.

Email to Governor Rell, State Rep. Linda Orange and State Senator Eileen Daily:

“I ask you to oppose Governor Rell’s proposal to use money from the ratepayer funded Clean Energy Fund and Energy Efficiency Fund to balance the state budget. This is an example of throwing good money after bad. We need to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy NOW, not the existing systems and institutions that have gotten us into the current problems we face. I understand you represent and are very good at operating within these current systems. We need you now to think big and act courageously and boldly.

Do not allow the governor and state government to tax electric ratepayers to balance the budget by taking money intended for the Clean Energy Fund, Energy Efficiency Fund, and eliminating the ratepayer-funded Office of Consumer Counsel. Rather, work to make these initiatives that are based on sustainable values operate better, more coherently and with transparency.

Clean energy investments are not optional- they are critical for keeping the lights on, meeting our energy needs at an affordable cost to consumers, reducing pollution and helping the world transition into a sustainable future peacefully and non-violently.  Every dollar not spent on renewable energy and energy efficiency supports war and violence, is ratepayer money wasted on building new power plants, continued consumption-ism and suburbanization, energy purchased from unregulated power plant owners, or rate hikes to pay the utilities to build new transmission lines that WE DO NOT NEED.

The effects of this proposal would be a hidden billion dollar tax on consumers through higher energy bills, increased dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels, and the lack of adequate representation in proceedings at the DPUC; not to mention continued support of a national perception that we need to unfairly take resources from other lands to subsidize our way of life.

As there is a waiting list of efficiency and clean energy projects for public buildings, we ask you to target these clean energy investments for public buildings, which will do more reduce the state’s deficit than raiding the money. It will also keep green jobs in Connecticut.

Lastly, I might ask that your office respond to this email as a courtesy. I have written before and received very very little in the way of acknowledgment and feedback. These are the most important issues we face today. We in the community expect that you, our representatives are treating these issues with great seriousness, compassion and inspiration. If not, than you must make room for people that are willing to do so. Please consider your actions for our greatest good – the good of creating a society that values constructive, interactive, sustainable living and not domination and so-called competition. Allow yourself to become aware of traditional issues that are used as a distraction to keep us from addressing real, deeper issues. I read your mailed updates and find that they focus on just these types distractions. They do not indicate a sufficient grasp of the depths of the real challenges facing us today. I implore you to dig deep in response to this email. I ask you to call upon your strongest values and heart-felt courage to begin making a real difference! Thank you!”

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