With the 2022 elections upon us, let’s take some time to review both the damage done this year and the opportunities that lay ahead. First, a high point was the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. It could also be called the Climate Change Reduction Act as it’s the biggest ever piece of climate legislation in our history! (See more later in this article or read about it here.) The IRA was passed without a single Republican vote in Congress and now they’re already working to repeal it. Next the low points were the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and open up attacks to reproductive choice by the various Republican controlled state legislatures. West Virginia’s patriarchs lost no time in banning abortions to become the second state to do so after Roe’s protections went down.
Now we’re heading into a newly redistricted midterm election where abortion is on the ballot along with four proposed amendments to the state constitution. Remember in #Roevember! Check out this scorecard from our friends at the WV FREE Action Fund to see how your legislators voted this year on bodily autonomy and reproductive rights.
For more on the amendments, check out Julie’s summary article. Our recommendations are to vote NO on all except Amendment 3. Amendments 1, 2, and 4 are blatant power grabs by the legislature’s Republican supermajority.
Energy Freedom Anyone?
West Virginians for Energy Freedom (WVEF) was formed to promote giving consumers access to renewable energy options and opposing the continuous electric rate hikes forced on us by a WV Public Service Commission. Currently the PSC is acting like a wholly owned subsidiary of the coal and utilities industries. WVEF is comprised of WV SUN (Solar United Neighbors), WV-CAG and our former campaign, Energy Efficient WV, which has now spun off into its own non-profit, Energy Efficient WV. Together with other allies like the Sierra Club and the WV Environmental Council we worked at the WV Legislature to make power purchase agreements available for residential and businesses. These in short, make it possible to have third-parties finance a solar installation on a building or property, and contract with the homeowner or business to buy the power produced.
This coming session we’ll be advocating for Community Solar. Stay tuned for more on this. However, right now we’re full tilt into a PSC special “Task Force to Assure Dependable and Affordable Electric Supply Recommendations”. This was set up at the request of the coal industry which was complaining that West Virginia’s power plants weren’t operating anywhere close to capacity. King Coal says the PSC should demand utilities to ramp up and operate at a minimum of 69% capacity (and thus burn more coal). Coal power is already so expensive that electric utilities are petitioning the PSC for hundreds of million $$$ in rate hikes just to recoup their fuel costs. Forcing them to ramp up and burn even more will mean ever increasing electric bills into the next decade. This is ludicrous when utilities can buy cheaper power from the grid for our use!
Take action for energy freedom!
WVEF has an easy way you can send comments to this Task Force at https://www.energyfreedomwv.org/contact-the-taskforce. Tell them you want more affordable energy and share if you have a story on how constantly increasing rates are a hardship. Keep up with new alerts at www.energyfreedomwv.org
Hold Trump Accountable Now!
Robert Reich just posted a call for the Justice Department to finally take our former president to task for his treasonous activities after he lost the election. This link (https://youtu.be/31uE8HLzEI4) will get you there. Reich was former US Secretary of Labor under president Clinton and an outspoken advocate for saner financial and other progressive public policies.
Someone smarter than me offered this observation: An attempted coup with no repercussions for the perpe-traitors is merely a practice run! His blog postings on Substack are highly recommended!
IRA – What’s in a Name?
Yes, inflation is a big problem now. No, this Inflation Reduction Act will not do a whole lot to fix inflation. It does direct some revenue tax increases on corporations to lower the public debt, but in all inflation is too big a problem for one bill to fix.
This bill could be called the CRA, the Climate Reduction Act, because it’s the biggest investment in addressing climate change in our nation’s history. It has layers of support for investments in energy efficiency, increased tax credits for solar & wind, and sets in motion market incentives that can finally move our country much closer to its international goals on carbon reduction. Our WV communities are among those that qualify for additional tax credits targeting ‘energy’ and ‘low income’ communities that can potentially cover half the cost of solar installations. Perry Bryant has distilled the Climate/Energy portions of this Act into a paper we posted on our web page here. Our allies at the Blue/Green Alliance also have a handy web page with IRA info and resources on all the recent federal legislation that has been enacted during the Biden Administration.
Lower Rx Prices, Too
The IRA also directs Medicare to begin negotiating with the pharmaceutical industry lower prescription drug costs for seniors, and sets a cap on insulin at $35/mo for seniors. Both these are long overdue remedies to the runaway costs of prescription drugs. Much more is needed to reign in the profiteers running Big Pharma companies.
Like What You’re Reading? Please Take Action to Support Our Work!
We hope you find our Capital Eye newsletter informative and engaging and that it inspires you to take action to make WV and our nation better. One action we’re hoping you’ll take is to visit wvcag.org/membership and sign up to be a contributing member of WV Citizen Action Group. Your green energy keeps us going. Please sign up today!