Political & Legislative

Invitation to GreenArmy Lobby Day, Thursday, May 14, 2015

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All are invited to Green Army Legislative Lobby Day on Thursday, May 14. We will be at the Louisiana State Capitol on that day starting at 9:00 am. Green Army organizations will be doing table displays, will be presenting information on important legislation, and will be coordinating meetings with legislators. We will have copies of the GreenArmy legislative report card and bullet points on important bills that GreenArmy is supporting for this legislative session. We will be providing opportunities for Louisiana residents to meet with legislators at the State Capitol. All are invited to contact GreenArmy in advance to arrange meetings with legislators, or to just show up and show support.

Legislative Update Apr 26, 2015

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NOTES FROM THE SESSION:

In more than 30 years of lobbying I have never seen a legislative session quite like the one that began on April 13th. It is an odd year, 2015, which means a shortened fiscal session limited to a sixty day time span during which the legislature cannot convene more than 45 days. This session must end no later than June 13th.

Louisiana’s constitution allows legislators to introduce up to five bills on any topic, but given the state’s dire fiscal situation—surely the worst since 1987 and possibly, with a $1.6-$1.8 billion deficit to be closed, the worst in modern times—money issues are clearly foremost in the minds of legislators. Further complicating matters, Louisiana legislators, except for those who are term limited, face reelection this fall.

And finally, with more power and authority vested in him than the governor of any other state, Governor Jindal has all but checked out to focus his attention on a presumed bid for the White House. Jindal’s parting words to legislators on the opening day of the session were, “Good Luck.” As if his absence were not problematic enough, Jindal has made it clear that he will veto any measure that is not revenue neutral. The legislature, then, can raise taxes or fees, but they must be offset with tax and/or fee reductions elsewhere. If this holds it can only mean further cuts in government programs that many people believe cannot sustain further cuts, especially in the fields of higher education and health care.

The Attack on Residential Solar in the 2015 Louisiana Legislative Session

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The attack on tax credits for residential solar installations in Louisiana continues in earnest with the 2015 legislative session which started on April 13. Armed with the State’s self inflicted $1.6B budget crisis in addition to the usual arguments, the foes of solar have come up with a litany of bills to be heard in this coming legislative session. No mercy is shown the Louisiana solar industry which pushed for passage of a bill in the 2013 legislative session that provided an orderly phase out of solar tax credits by end of 2017. The solar industry in Louisiana was the only industry to push a bill for voluntary phase out of tax credits. The industry put forward an orderly phase out that would allow time for manufacturers, suppliers and installers to adjust to doing business without State tax credits. The legislation was passed but you don’t hear the solar industry getting any credit for trying to do it the right way.

Statement to the Louisiana House Natural Resources Committee Hearing of Feb 12, 2015, USEPA Clean Power Plan

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,

We, the undersigned request that you enter this letter into the public record because many of us could not be here in person. We are hard-working organizations that give voice to the citizens of Louisiana. We represent those who are seeing their land washed away by an eroding coast and rising sea levels. We speak for those who have lost their homes, not once, but repeatedly to ever more destructive coastal storms. We empower those who live under the burden of industrial pollution in their communities. We understand that there are powerful interests urging you to keep doing business as usual. We are speaking to the side of you that loves Louisiana, the health of it’s citizens, and the beautiful places in our state.

The Green Army Legislative Scorecard

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The GreenARMY is a state-wide coalition of organizations, civic groups, and individuals fighting to preserve Louisiana’s culture and environment. The coalition has environmental campaigns that fall under the umbrella of clean air, clean water, clean land, and healthy food. Sierra Club in Louisiana is an active participant in Green Army efforts to direct the attention of state government and industry to environmental problems and the negative impacts to our communities caused by poorly regulated industrial operations.

The Legislative Scorecard has been developed in an effort to let the public know how State Representatives and Senators voted in the 2014 legislative session. The Scorecard provides a rating which compares their environmental voting records. The selected bills and amendments represent a wide range of environmental issues in Louisiana.

We suggest you congratulate your Representatives and Senators who scored highly, and let the others know that you expect them to do better.

Click this link to go to the Green Army Legislative Scorecard

Forest Wright Statement to Supporters of his Campaign for Louisiana Public Service Commission District 1

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In the past, Public Service Commission races have generated little to no interest... until now.

Because of you, this was one of the most followed and hotly contested races in Louisiana this year. Election night results had us separated by a slim margin, just 50.85% to 49.15%. This was an astounding achievement against a heavily favored incumbent spending nearly unlimited campaign cash and heavily backed by utilities companies and a political machine desperately clinging to the status quo.

Forest Wright for LPSC District 1 in the Dec 6 runoff election

Congratulations to our friend Forest Bradley Wright who on Nov 4 took the most votes in Public Service Commission District 1. Forest took 38.46% vs Eric Skrmetta's 36.95%. Third place finisher Al Leone took 24.58% so he will drop out and the two leaders will go to a runoff election on Dec 6. Erik Skrmetta is the incumbent for District 1 and has been the chair of the commission this year. Mr. Skrmetta has shown himself to be dead set against renewable energy, solar, energy efficiency or anything other than burning fossil fuels. And he admits to taking most of his campaign contributions from the utilities that he is supposed to be regulating. There are only five seats on the Louisiana Public Service Commission. So electing Forest could make a huge positive difference in energy policy for Louisiana.

Delta Chapter Election 2014 Information Packet for Louisiana Sierra Club Members

The Sierra Club has long been an organization that takes an active interest in the democratic process and its impact on the environment. The environment is playing a major role in this year’s election, and the results will have a major impact on America’s laws for protection of clean air, clean water, natural places, and wildlife.

To help inform voters about the issues at stake in this year’s election, we’ve compiled the following packet of information.

The Environment and the 2014 Election

The Environment & the 2014 Election
Baton Rouge Group of the Sierra Club
September 25, 2014

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