The Home of the Blues Gets a Little Greener

Memphis, TN, known as the Home of the Blues, got a little greener last week when two important clean energy projects were recognized during a one-day press event. Southern Alliance for Clean Energy was on site at both events, to celebrate these important milestones as the city of Memphis moves towards a more sustainable future.

The groundbreaking of the “new” Universal Life Insurance Building celebrated that project’s award of $2 million in Qualified Energy Conservation (QEC) bonds from the Green Communities Program, managed by the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability and the Housing and Community Development department. Additionally, the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability received an $80,000 Clean Energy Grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to install solar panels and an educational display at the Lichterman Nature Center. SACE couldn’t be happier to highlight these two big developments in Memphis’ path to a cleaner, greener economy.

Polling Shows Hispanic Voters Support Climate Action

Polling has consistently shown that Latino and Hispanic voters support action to combat climate change. Polling conducted by Latino Decisions, in partnership with Earthjustice and GreenLatinos, found that Latinos, more than other Americans, see climate change as a consequence of human activity – with almost two-thirds accepting anthropogenic explanations of climate change.

That same polling also showed that many Latinos are willing to put their money where their mouth is, accepting anywhere from a $5 – $10 increase in monthly utility bulls to help hasten the transition to clean, renewable energy sources. Most notably, Latino Decisions’ polling found that the majority of those polled do not accept the argument that environmental improvements come at the cost of a decreasing job market – 59% believe renewable energy and environmental reform is good for economic opportunity and job growth.

A Clean, Green Job-Creating Machine

Information in this blog was taken from an in-person interview with Dana Dorsey of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation as well as information included in an article on her work in High Ground News.  Dana Dorsey has been busy. She just finished celebrating the graduation of the first class of the Memphis Clean and Green Job [...]

Do You Breathe Air? Why You Should Care About New Ozone Standards

Do you breathe air? If you answered yes, then you should definitely care about the soon-to-be-released updated ozone regulations. If you answered no, then I’m glad to learn there really is life after death! All joking aside, the Environmental Protection Agency is under a court order to release updated ozone regulations October 1st that will further strengthen these important public health safeguards.

Oh Say Can You See? Air Pollution and the Smoky Mountains

Back in 1990, average visibility in the Smoky Mountains was just 25 miles. Since then, reductions in air pollution have made it possible for visitors to see as far as 46 miles. In the absence of any air pollution, however, visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park would be able to see a whopping [...]

Final Clean Power Plan Safeguards Public Health and Spurs Clean Energy Growth

On Monday, President Obama announced the release of the finalized Clean Power Plan, our nation’s first regulations to limit carbon pollution from existing fossil-fueled power plants. The Clean Power Plan, as crafted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets achievable carbon pollution reduction goals for each state, based on the unique energy mix currently serving the power needs of each state.

This historic action will mean a huge boon to public health. Along with reducing climate-change causing carbon pollution, the Clean Power Plan will also reduce other harmful pollution from coal plants resulting in prevention of 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 non-fatal heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks in children and 300,000 missed workdays and schooldays due to illness.

White House Has Plans to Help Low-Income Communities Gain Access to Solar

In early July, the White House unveiled a new plan to help cut energy costs for low- and middle-income families. The new program would make it easier for people who lack startup capital, or who rent rather than own their homes, to invest in solar.

According to the Obama Administration, last year the United States brought as much solar energy online every three weeks as it did in all of 2008. The solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy. The continually lowering price for solar energy is part of the inspiration behind the Administration’s effort to provide access to those communities who have historically been economically unable to access clean energy resources.

Solar Farm Will Generate Energy and Millions In Economic Benefits to Northern Alabama

A recent study by the University of Alabama Center for Business and Economic Research found that a proposed 80 MW solar farm, to be located in Lauderdale County, Alabama, could create millions of dollars in economic benefits to the area. The solar farm is being developed on a 640-acre tract of land by NextEra Energy Inc. and will sell the power to the Tennessee Valley Authority under a 20-year contract approved by the TVA Board in February 2015.

Climate Champion Sen. Whitehouse Discusses Climate Change with TN Advocates

Last weekend, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) visited SACE’s Knoxville office to sit down with clean energy and environmental advocates from Tennessee to discuss work done to combat climate change in the state. Representatives from SACE, Sierra Club, Tennessee Interfaith Power and Light, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment, Alliance to Save Energy and TenneSEIA were in the room as Sen. Whitehouse was briefed on TN’s air quality, past and future climate change impacts in the state and the amount of solar, wind and energy efficiency resources used by TN residents.

Supreme Court Mercury Decision Not a Real Game Changer

In a close 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States sent the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Mercury Air Toxics Standard (MATS) rule back to a lower court for review. Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion, which hinged on an interpretation of administrative law requirements and did not overturn EPA’s ability to regulate hazardous air pollutants from power plants.

While the Court did not overturn EPA’s analysis and conclusion that public health benefits of the MATS rule vastly outweigh the costs to the coal and oil industry, it did find that EPA should have first considered whether it was appropriate to regulate power plants under the Clean Air Act’s hazardous air pollution safeguards.