KySEA Lobby Day - A Success!
More than 60 citizen lobbyists came to Frankfort on Tuesday, February 28, to talk to legislators about the promise of clean energy.
The Clean Energy Lobby Day was hosted by the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance (KySEA), a coalition of 52 organizations working to pass clean energy policy that would stem rising energy rates and create thousands of new jobs. KySEA includes small businesses, faith communities, housing groups, MACED, environmental groups, and even individuals.
It was an incredible day. Participants from around the state met with more than 50 different legislators to discuss House Bill 167, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act. Sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, the bill would establish benchmarks for increasing the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Kentucky over the next ten years. It would also establish payment rates for renewable energy to encourage renewable energy industries to locate in Kentucky and create new jobs.
Many surrounding states have already passed such measures, and new jobs in clean energy are going to Ohio and North Carolina instead of Kentucky.
EKU students John Bowers and Emily Justus, and Nick Johnson, a U of Louisville student lobbied for the first time. Nick told his senator, Robert Leeper of Paducah, about the Synapse Economics study which projects 28,000 additional job-years in Kentucky by 2022 if the bill is passed. When he came out of the meeting, Nick said “I think I know how to do public speaking. And now I’m going to learn how to be better at lobbying legislators.”
Emily Justus, a native of Pike County, said she came to Frankfort to “show our support and learn about the whole process.” John Bowers of Berea said, “I’m very much for clean energy. I think that’s the wave of the future and the direction we need to go.”
Each legislator who met with KySEA representatives was given a packet of information about HB 167 and its projected benefits. Most KySEA participants reported a fairly favorable response from their legislators.
The Clean Energy Opportunity Act is assigned to the House Tourism, Development and Energy Committee. One strategy of the lobby day was to press for the bill to get a hearing, and we have learned that our efforts were successful on that. The bill will get a hearing in committee in the next few weeks!
So, we ask all the wonderful KySEA activists to stay tuned, and come back to the Capitol complex to attend the hearing.