Special Interest Groups Attack Solar

Koch Brothers + 11 Other Special Interest Groups Attack Solar and Wind Power Generation

The Koch brothers, Duke Energy and Arizona Public Service are among 12 special interest groups waging aggressive anti-solar campaigns across the country, often coordinated and behind the scenes, a new Environment America Research and Policy Center report said today.


While American solar power has increased four-fold since 2010, state by state, utilities and powerful industry front groups have begun chipping away at key policies that helped spur this solar boom, according to the analysis, “Blocking the Sun: 12 Utilities and Fossil Fuel Interests That Are Undermining American Solar Power.”

Fossil-fuel interests and their allies have been using the same playbook to undermine solar power across the country,” said Bret Fanshaw, the solar program coordinator for Environment America. “And they’ve largely been operating in the shadows.”

The playbook: a national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel industry-funded think tanks provides funding, model legislation and political cover for anti-solar campaigns. The report examines five of these major national players—Edison Electric Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council, Koch brothers and their front group Americans for Prosperity, Heartland Institute and Consumer Energy Alliance.

Then, in state after state, electric utilities use the support provided by these national anti-solar interests, supplemented by their own ample resources, to attack key solar energy policies. The report features seven utilities—Arizona Public Service, Duke Energy, American Electric Power, Berkshire Hathaway Industries, Salt River Project, FirstEnergy and We Energies.


“We found that most attacks on solar energy happen behind closed doors in utility agencies or in dense regulatory filings—away from public view,” said Gideon Weissman of the Frontier Group and co-author of the report. “That’s probably because they’re aimed at very popular policies that give regular consumers the chance to go solar.”

Charles and David Koch have an enormous financial stake in the fossil fuel industry

oligarchs economic power elite overlords

Economic Power Elite

through their company Koch Industries and its many subsidiaries. Koch Industries alone operates around 4,000 miles of pipeline, along with oil refineries in Alaska, Minnesota and Texas.

Through its front group Americans for Prosperity and funding to other like-minded entities, the Koch brothers have attacked solar laws in several states including Florida, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, Arizona, Minnesota, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington.

Utilities like Arizona Public Service augment resources from interests like the Kochs to forward an anti-solar agenda. Arizona Public Service admitted to funding anti-solar ads by 60 plus, a national Koch-backed front group that purports to represent seniors and it has been accused of improper influence with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

“I’ve seen first-hand how some energy monopolies have used money in campaigns to intimidate and manipulate policy makers and elected officials,” said Rep. Ken Clark, a state representative from Arizona who has pushed Arizona Public Service to disclose its political spending. “Aside from the question of renewable energy, this activity has become a threat to our electoral system.”

Arizona Public Service’s latest stealth move against solar has been to withdraw its request to raise fees on solar owners until the commission completes a study that would only examine costs and not benefits, of the resource.

In Florida, where solar capacity is far beneath its potential, Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity and Duke Energy, the largest utility in the U.S., have teamed up to block pro-solar policies. Duke Energy spent heavily to help re-elect Gov. Rick Scott, who campaigned against a state renewable electricity standard. Americans for Prosperity has mobilized its members and waged an aggressive ad campaign against a ballot initiative to expand rooftop solar by allowing third-party sales of panels. Duke Energy has also contributed to that effort.

The anti-solar coalition Consumers for Smart Solar, backed by Americans for Prosperity, Duke Energy and others, has now put forward a competing ballot measure in Florida to undermine the rooftop solar amendment.

“By wide margins, Americans support pro-solar policies,” said Fanshaw. “That’s why fossil fuel interests and their front groups have resorted to shady and deceptive tactics to undermine them. Ultimately it will be up to state leaders to reject these attacks and support a clean energy future.”

Solar Power

International Links to Workers Self DIrected Enterprises

Reprinted from Ecowatch.com   The Report Link is Here 


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Top .01% Super Wealthy Americans

Top 0.01% of Super Wealth Americans  Gain as Income Clusters at Peak

Boom and Bust Man

Boom and Bust Man

It was the biggest share of income clustered at the very top of the distribution scale since 1929.
Richard Rubin  May 27, 2015 — reprinted here from Bloomberg Politics News

The top 0.01 percent of Americans — fewer than 14,000 households — received 5.6 percent of adjusted gross income in 2012, according to data released Wednesday by the IRS that underscore the increasing concentration of income.
It was the biggest share of income clustered at the very top of the distribution scale since 2007. Those in that group had a minimum income of $12.1 million, up from the $8.8 million it took to reach that club in 2011.
An even more exclusive club — the top 0.001 percent — also had its best year since 2007.
“The middle class really has stagnated.”  Harry Stein

Greed and Wealth

Greed and Wealth

The average tax rate of that group — with a minimum income of $62.1 million — was 17.6 percent. That’s lower than the average rate for the top 10 percent of the U.S. population, a demonstration of the power of preferential tax rates on investment income.
The Internal Revenue Service data provide fodder for the 2016 presidential campaign, with candidates from both parties searching for policies that would reduce income inequality.
Measured in inflation-adjusted dollars, the threshold needed to be in the top 50 percent of the income distribution declined from 2003 to 2012.
“The middle class really has stagnated,” said Harry Stein, director of fiscal policy at the Center for American Progress, a Washington group aligned with Democrats. “You see people at the top doing very well, and it’s not trickling down to anybody else.”
Unusual Situation
High earners faced an unusual tax situation in 2012, because it was the end of the 15 percent top rate on capital gains and dividends. The increase to 23.8 percent on Jan. 1, 2013, prompted many high earners to sell appreciated assets before the deadline and take advantage of the lower rates.
The IRS report also shows how the U.S. tax system remains broadly progressive — meaning those with higher incomes pay higher tax rates. The top 3 percent of households, who received 30.9 percent of adjusted gross income, paid more than half of individual income taxes. And that was before tax increases for top earners took effect in 2013.
Because of tax credits that operate as wage supports, relatively few households in the lower half of the income distribution pay income taxes. The top 50 percent of households received 89 percent of the income and paid 97 percent of the income taxes.
Payroll taxes and state taxes are typically regressive and counteract the leveling effect of the federal income tax.  Income Inequality  and PDF of report here