February 23, 2011

News Release
Citizens Action Coalition, AARP Indiana, Save the Valley, Valley Watch Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club

On Feb. 23, 2011, a coalition of consumer and environmental organizations blasted Senate Bill 251, contending that it is a utility wish list inimical to consumer interests and economic stability. S.B. 251 was approved on Tuesday, Feb. 22 by a vote of 32-17 and will now to be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Grant Smith, Executive Director of Citizens Action Coalition (CAC), said, “SB 251 does three things: First, the legislation is designed to enable utilities to pursue financially high-risk investments, like nuclear power, that they would otherwise avoid. Secondly, it is designed to deregulate large portions of utility revenue over time. Finally, SB 251 all but eliminates the possibility of a robust, homegrown renewable energy sector for Indiana."

February 17, 2011

News Release
Citizens Action Coalition

On Feb. 16, the Citizens Action Coalition called on the Daniels administration to release e-mails and documents that CAC requested months ago. The e-mails pertain to the recently signed contract between the Indiana Finance Authority and Leucadia Corporation to force construction of a substitute natural gas (SNG) plant in Rockport, Ind.

Kerwin Olson, program director for CAC, said, "The Daniels administration continues to deny or sit on information requests that intend to shed light on this questionable contract. Transparency of this transaction is essential as Hoosier homes and businesses are being coerced by the power of the state to become involuntary investors in a highly speculative venture. The reality is that this deal requires the public to invest for 30 years in unregistered, derivative securities to enable the production of overpriced SNG."

February 13, 2011

I found myself on the other side of the journalistic equation this past week, when the Indiana Daily Student published a front-page story about my work on autism and the environment, including links between vaccines and the pervasive developmental disorder.

The story drew the expected shrill and vitriolic reaction from vaccine industry defenders, none of whom identify themselves by name. The comments section attracted more than three dozen responses from some of the highest profile actors in the national debate. What follows is my response to the fallout.

February 11, 2011

News Release
Citizens Action Coalition

The Citizens Action Coalition (CAC) has called for the immediate withdrawal of Senate Bill 251. The legislation, according to the CAC, would, for all practical purposes, eliminate ratepayer protections under the law and provide monopoly electric utilities the means for unlimited profits on the backs of their captive ratepayers and the Indiana economy.

Grant Smith, CAC's Executive Director, said, "Utility companies have tried for years to pass similar provisions. Those bills were ultimately rejected due to their negative impact on homeowners and businesses; the bulk of the Indiana economy. Senators Gard, Merritt, Hershman and Boots must think that excessively high, unaffordable utility bills are good for the economy. They have adopted in SB 251 the monopoly utility agenda hook, line, and sinker. There is absolutely no balancing act here.'"

January 21, 2011

News Release
Citizens Action Coalition

State Senate Bill 102, authored by Sens. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield, and Lindel Hume, D, Princeton, and co-authored by Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, gives electric utilities in Indiana a virtual blank check. It also, over time, would deregulate billions of dollars of utility revenue, leaving Indiana with multi-billion dollar, unregulated monopolies.

Executive Director of Citizens Action Coalition Grant Smith said, "The Indiana Senate for years has carried water for utility companies to the detriment of our economy and health. Indiana's monopoly utility industry and their high-dollar lobbyists have always had a highly corrupting influence over our administrative and legislative processes."

December 13, 2010

I remember my first ride on a new four-lane highway through the Kentucky countryside, and what a fine road it was: smooth, wide and uncrowded. We just floated along in our Chevrolet -- Mother, Daddy, my little brother and me, back home from Nigeria where roads were usually unpaved laterite, and we bounced through clouds of dust, moving over now and then to let herds of long-horned cows pass. It was 1956, and America was zooming full-bore into what looked like a bright future of suburban homes with two-car garages.

I think of that now as state surveyors move into Monroe County to chart the route of an interstate highway -- maybe the last interstate highway that will be built in the United States, if it is built at all, a question I hope still hangs in the air. As our town tries to dig its way out of the mess that 20th-century America has made of itself, we can hardly imagine that what we need now at the dawn of the post-oil age is a highway.

December 11, 2010

Duke Energy always rewards its creepy, disgraced executives, it seems. A couple of days ago James L. Turner resigned in disgrace after the Indianapolis Star revealed e-mails between him and his buddy David Lott Hardy, who was the chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).

Those communications may have been illegal as ex parte communications, but hey, it’s Indiana, where the line between the regulators and the regulated has been ill-defined for a long time, especially in the last six years as Mitch Daniels has strategically placed industry leaders in the position of regulating the industries they work for.

December 10, 2010

Citizens Action Coalition

Citizens Action Coalition (CAC) celebrates the withdrawal of the Settlement Agreement with respect to the scandal-plagued Edwardsport coal gasification plant. Despite being a party to case, CAC was excluded from settlement negotiations. This proposed settlement was a bad deal for the ratepayers of Indiana and only promised to continue shifting the burden of cost and risk onto the public while Duke Energy realized all the profits.

Indy Star reveals communications between Duke, state regulators
December 4, 2010

Drawing on hundreds of emails, the Indianapolis Star is providing Indiana with the most unsavory political drama it has seen for a while: the romance between Duke Energy officials and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).

While the IURC has been nailing electric ratepayers for spiraling construction cost overruns at Duke's Edwardsport coal gasification plant, state and Duke officials have bantered back and forth like schoolboys.

November 24, 2010

News Release
Citizens Action Coalition, Save the Valley
Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, Valley Watch

On Nov. 22, the Citizens Action Coalition, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, Save the Valley and Valley Watch called for critical consumer protections against cost overruns at the scandal-plagued Edwardsport coal gasification project caused by misdeeds of Duke Energy and State of Indiana officials. Specifically, the groups called on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to open two separate investigations to assess the economic impacts on the project of:

1) Fraud, concealment or gross mismanagement in the planning, design, engineering and construction of the project by Duke Energy Indiana, its affiliates and contractors; and

2) Improper communications, conflicts of interest, undue influence or other misconduct relating to the regulatory oversight of the project on the part of past and present officials of Duke Energy and the State of Indiana.

Syndicate content