Leaders Launch Campaign
Tallahassee, Fla. -- Today on a statewide conference call, a broad and diverse coalition of leaders presented a united front opposing a utility-backed proposal appearing on November's ballot as Amendment 1.
Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, free market advocates, solar industry reps and non-partisan advocacy groups joined together to launch a citizen-led "Vote No On 1" campaign explaining that "Amendment 1 Blocks the Sun."
In true "David and Goliath" form, this grassroots campaign must compete against the nearly $19 million contributed by utilities and their supporters to date.
Leaders from across the political spectrum explained how Amendment 1 will stifle solar power and keep Floridians captive power consumers because
Amendment 1 is funded by Florida's big utilities to protect their monopoly markets and limit customer-owned solar,
Amendment 1 paves the way for barriers that would penalize solar customers, and
Amendment 1 misleads Florida voters by promising rights and protections that Florida citizens already have.
In the closely divided 4-3 Supreme Court decision that approved Amendment 1 thus securing it a place on the general election ballot, Justice Barbara Pariente wrote, "Let the pro-solar energy consumers beware. Masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative, this proposed constitutional amendment, supported by some of Florida's major investor-owned electric utility companies, actually seeks to constitutionalize the status quo. The ballot title is affirmatively misleading by its focus on 'Solar Energy Choice,' when no real choice exists for those who favor expansion of solar energy."
"Amendment 1 is a sham designed by the utilities to turn out the lights on solar in Florida," said Pamela Goodman, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. "Florida utilities have raised a staggering $18 million dollars to place this 'citizen' amendment on the ballot. With Amendment 4 we saw the enthusiasm Florida voters have for good solar policy, and we urge voters to get the facts and not be fooled by this utility-funded attempt to put their boot on the neck of solar. Every voter who voted yes on Amendment 4 in August should vote NO in November to be consistent in their support of solar expansion in Florida."
"Amendment 1 is a cleverly-designed attempt to maintain monopoly control over Florida's energy industry. This amendment is an attempt to manipulate people into falsely believing it is currently illegal to buy or lease solar. It is deplorable that Amendment 1 proponents seek to enshrine Florida's current, non-competitive, anti-free market solar policy into the state's constitution. It is my hope that Floridians will see through this charade and vote no on Amendment 1 in November," said Tory Perfetti, Chairman, Floridians for Solar Choice.
"We believe Amendment 1, initiated by Florida's for-profit, monopoly utility companies, is intentionally deceptive and intended to trick and confuse Florida voters to make them believe they are supporting solar when, in fact, passing Amendment 1 will irreparably harm rooftop solar and limit their energy choices," said Patrick Altier, incoming President of the Florida Solar Energy Industry Association and a Florida rooftop solar contractor.
"As a supporter of the free market, I will fight to oppose Amendment 1 and do all I can to inform the voters that this amendment is bad policy for Florida," said Char-Lez Braden, Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida.
"As a young republican in the Sunshine State, it disappoints me that Florida is ranked 17th in solar power generated," said Candace Munz, Communications Director, Capital Young Republicans. "We will all benefit from the use of clean, safe and inexpensive energy, and Amendment 1 will make Florida less competitive. We must vote NO in November to protect our constitution from the special interest-driven initiative."
"The Green Party of Florida supported the original Floridians for Solar Choice effort to create more opportunities to grow solar in Florida, but sadly that effort failed," said Henry Lawrence, spokesperson for the Green Party of Florida. "The Corporate Solar Energy Bill, known as Amendment 1 on the November ballot, is a Big NO for the Green Party of Florida since this bill will do nothing to help residential and commercial solar efforts grow from the citizen grassroots level and would, in fact, would limit that effort tremendously by keeping all energy generation under the control of Big Energy providers like Gulf Power, Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light and TECO."
"As a long-time advocate for free market policies in Florida, I am opposed to Amendment 1. Competition and Consumers having choices is the foundation of a free market. Competition and choice improve quality and lowers prices. Amendment 1 is a veiled attempt to further expand the monopoly power of the major utility companies in Florida and to prohibit competition," said John Hallman, Central Florida Regional Coordinator for the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida.
"With solar supporters across the political aisle, Florida Democrats are proud to protect solar freedom by opposing Amendment 1 in November," said John Hedrick, chair of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida. "Big power companies are trying to keep solar at bay and we are united in opposition."
"The Florida Christian Coalition/CCA opposes Amendment 1 because these ill-advised regulations would hurt Florida families by limiting the future expansion of energy independence in the Sunshine State. The current status quo does not need to be enshrined in our State Constitution," said Florida Christian Coalition Chairman, Ash Mason.
"Amendment 1 was never about increasing choice in energy production for consumers. It has always been tightening the chokehold the large power companies have on the people of Florida," said Alexander Snitker, Chairman, Liberty First PAC. "These power companies and groups opposing any form of alternative energy market in Florida have continually engaged in a campaign to label anything that would bring more energy choices to Floridians as "subsidies" in an effort to invoke fear by outright lying. The fact is, the large power company monopolies have been relying on a business model that is quickly becoming obsolete. Amendment 1 is a pitiful attempt to prolong their stranglehold on the market."
"Florida's voters BEWARE, FPL and Florida's other big utilities are about to unleash a massive misinformation campaign to try to convince you they support solar and are protecting consumers " said Dr. Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "The truth is, by promoting Amendment 1, the only people the utilities are protecting are their shareholders and their profits. The Sunshine State's big utilities have the Southeast's lowest levels of solar power per customer, ranked far behind North Carolina and Georgia and other states. They are using big advertising budgets to cover-up their anti customer-owned solar agenda."
The League of Women Voters of Florida, charted in 1939, is a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, please visit the League's website at: www.BeReadyToVote.org and www.TheFloridaVoter.org.