Last night I attended a really interesting meeting at the Danville Public Library auditorium. The event was put on by the Sierra Club, which is building grassroots support in the Fifth for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as Cap and Trade. Congressman Perriello took a courageous stand earlier this year by voting for it--even though the pundits all said he shouldn't. The Danville Register-Bee covered the event:
This is very encouraging--Tom has taken a lot of flak from the righties over his ACES vote, even though the legislation will create forty-five thousand jobs in the state and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It's ironic that the supposedly security-minded Republicans would oppose something that will stop billions of dollars from going to unstable countries that don't like us. Then of course, there's the whole "clean" aspect of clean energy; it would be nice to stop ripping up the atmosphere and polluting our rivers.
About 30 people brainstormed ideas to build support of the American Clean Energy and Security Act — also known as the cap-and-trade bill — which aims to reduce pollution and create green energy jobs. The legislation has received both strong praise and criticism for its plan to reduce greenhouse gases.
Trieste Lockwood, clean energy field organizer for the Sierra Club, said the organization has not had a strong presence in Southside for some time. Lockwood said the Sierra Club’s goal in Southside was to support 5th District Rep. Tom Perriello’s vote for the bill in June 2009.
“We’re working to support this bill because of all the clean energy jobs it will create in the country,” Lockwood said. “It will create a million jobs in the country and 45,000 in Virginia. I feel this area specifically will largely benefit because of the agricultural and manufacturing history.”
Local companies such as Red Birch Energy in Bassett and Piedmont BioProducts in Gretna are aiming to repurpose the local agricultural sector, transforming former tobacco fields into clean energy production in Southside. Lockwood and others said the ACES bill would further increase the green energy industry locally.
Lockwood said she was happy with the turnout and seemed optimistic for establishing a grassroots base in Southside in favor of the ACES bill.
“It’s good to know that people in the Southside care about the energy plan and the jobs it will create,” she said. “It’s this set of smart policies that will help clean energy happen in Southside.” (My emphasis)
Props to Trieste and all the Sierra Club volunteers who came out last night!