By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
In a recent op-ed on his website, Senator Phil Williams (R) from Rainbow City suggests that money and financial gain are behind the recent war on coal that has recently descended on the State.
Sen. Williams wrote that there should be a requirement that, “…so-called ‘Green Energy’ resources prove their worth without having to be propped up by massive subsidization. In a free market economy the better mousetrap will find a buyer. But that is not what we see with alternative energy which benefits from massive (and speculative) government credits and subsidies just to survive.”
Sen. Williams wrote, “A quick survey of the news headlines will show the casual reader that the green energy and environmental groups in Alabama are being heavily backed by funds from out-of-state organizations and the Federal government to promote a green agenda. There’s nothing wrong with having a position mind you….but at what cost? And to what end? I submit that the movement we see afoot right now is not about what is good for the planet, or for that matter what is good for the end-user energy consumer. Rather, it is really about what is good for the pockets of those that want desperately to establish themselves as alternative energy providers within the State of Alabama.”
Sen. Williams said, “Conventional energy providers such as Alabama Power and Alagasco have been the subject of derisive rhetoric from the Left in the past year. Under the guise of caring for the planet and the impoverished, groups like the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Alabama Arise, and the Southern Environmental Law Center have received tens of thousands of dollars from liberal interests such as the Energy Foundation based in San Francisco that was admittedly earmarked “to accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants in the Southeast”. In neighboring Georgia they have already succeeded in shutting down multiple coal-fired plants resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs to the Peach State.”
Sen. Williams continued, “The same Liberal groups who received funds from San Francisco have begun promoting their agenda in public events around the state. Pioneer Green, a Texas-based company working to establish wind farms in North Alabama has offered to funnel grants to local school systems. To further promote the assault on conventional energy the proponents of wind energy in Alabama have retained a major marketing and communications firm out of Birmingham, The Markstein Company. Markstein representatives have already begun contacting state legislators seeking to avoid any limitations on wind systems despite the lack of protection for state citizens and communities. Make no mistake, this is more a campaign against conventional energy than it is a campaign for alternative energy – a negative campaign designed to tear down rather than build up.”
The Conservative State Senator from Etowah County said that part two of their plan is to shut down conventional resources and referenced Georgia where Georgia Power has announced the closing of fifteen coal-fired and oil-fired units due to new restrictive regulations, which have resulted in the loss of hundreds of jobs and a six percent increase in rates due in part to shut down costs. Williams said that not every power producer can purchase alternative energy sources and that it is simply not cost effective or viable.
Sen. Williams wrote, “Step three – Provide the alternative (for a nominal fee of course): Once the negative image of conventional energy has been established, and a void created by the loss of conventional sources, the final stage of the plan is simply swoop in with something to fill the void. A classic case-in-point is the ongoing push to establish windfarms in Alabama. Currently at least six counties in the Magnolia State have proposed windfarm projects, with the two most pressing projects being in Etowah and Cherokee Counties.”
Sen. Williams concludes, “I believe that wind energy proponents have targeted Alabama for two reasons. For one, they know that there is absolutely no regulatory authority in Alabama to protect Alabama citizens and Alabama communities from the proven dangers that can exist in the construction and operation of a windfarm that sprawls for miles with 500-foot towers. Nothing exists in this state to protect adjacent land owners, to prevent abandonment of these wind sites, to insure liabilities are insured…..nothing. We’re going to fix that in the coming legislative session with my bill, Senate Bill 12. But the second driving force behind the introduction of wind energy in Alabama is once again the free-flow of taxpayer funds used to prop up each windmill.” “In Etowah and Cherokee Counties we are already hearing the claims that huge local revenues and massive job creation will result if the windfarms are built. But that same pied-piper claim has been used elsewhere and proven to be illusory.”
Senator Williams’ district currently consists of Etowah and Cherokee Counties; but redistricting means that in the 2014 election it will expand to include parts of Dekalb and Northern St. Clair Counties.
Williams and his wife have been married for 27 years. His son is the fourth generation of the Williams family to be an Army officer. Williams himself is a veteran of both the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sen. Williams is an attorney.