What kind of “conservative” supports a government-subsidized energy amendment?
By Jim McGovern | 09 March 2015
Conservatives come in all shapes and sizes – or so we are told. Some even favor taking PAC money to advance a state constitutional amendment to favor the solar equipment and installation industry over other energy choices for Florida. And if you believe that, I have some swampland in Florida you might be interested in buying.
But apparently, if you wave some PAC money in front of some conservatives you may discover how flexible their “principles” become. Against crony capitalism? Absolutely – except for the solar energy industry which might benefit some consumers (and certain manufacturers).
Floridians for Solar Choice professes to be a “grassroots” organization promoting the idea of a state constitutional amendment to elevate solar energy to a favored commercial class. On their slick Facebook space they write, “As our momentum builds, monopoly utilities and their supporters in the fossil fuel industry have started a campaign of false and deceptive comments about the Florida Solar Choice petition and our effort to remove market barriers for solar power in the Sunshine State.” Their petition proposes to amend the state Constitution to prevent the state from regulating any enterprise that offers solar energy to consumers and to prevent traditional utilities from “interfering” in that enterprise.
Precious little is known about those alleged “market barriers” cited by the solar promoters. And, if they exist, why would it take a constitutional amendment to remove them? The petition language states, “It shall be the policy of the state to encourage and promote local small-scale solar-generated electricity production and to enhance the availability of solar power to customers.” What appears here is another attempt (invented and weaponized by leftists) to capture the popular sentiments of conservation and prudence (yes, even among conservative) to establish still another set of government regulations which will favor an otherwise failing industry and institutionalize its survival. And because they think it would be “good for the environment,” they want to spend your money to accomplish it.
These seemingly well-intentioned activists are encouraged to deploy their minions to gather petitions by certain moneyed interests who stand to profit by the public’s gullible nature. The media is feverishly trying to convince the low-information reader that this is a “non-partisan,” big-tent movement that springs from a genuine concern for “our planet.” It seems, however, that most of the money maintaining the Floridians for Solar Choice and most of the campaign activity comes from the SACE-ACTION FUND in Knoxville, Tennessee. This is the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund, one of the many Political Action Committees (PACs) that have been channeling money from special interest lobbying groups and tax-exempt “charitable trusts” into environment and education lobbying.
The political nature of this organization’s “non-partisan” efforts is revealed when reading the candidate scorecard they posted in the 2014 race for Florida’s governor’s race. The irony of “conservatives” working with the people who pushed Charlie Crist for governor in 2014 is comical, but instructive. A casual inspection of the list of operators of the Southern Alliance shows an array of leftists with varying degrees of experience promoting leftist causes. The website for Floridians also claims support from one or more of the various loosely affiliated tea parties who are anxious to appear “connected.”
We all wish the solar industry well in its quest to become a viable alternative power source. Reducing pollutants and relieving the cyclical strain on our power infrastructure are laudable goals. But how much more “incentive” should continue to come from public money when the result of that kind of support seems to be making certain people// wealthy at taxpayer expense? And with a constitutional amendment? Ridiculous.