Friday, May 20, 2011

Protest at Pepcoal Shareholders' Meeting!

D.C. Rising Tide joined with DC Solar United Neighborhoods (SUN) today to demand that Pepco(al) bring them distributed renewable energy, not electricity from coal, other fossil fuels, or nuclear energy. The groups protested Pepcoal during the corporation's annual shareholders meeting at its headquarters in downtown D.C.

The D.C. residents chalked the sidewalk with coal and handed coal to shareholders to tell Pepcoal that we don't want their dirty coal. Others chanted out "Now is the hour for solar power" and "No more Pepcoal!"

Pepco continues to give DC residents electricity mainly from coal, including coal from mountaintop removal. The corporation has impeded efforts to promote solar energy in DC, and has even rejected a shareholder resolution to help make them move towards renewable energy.

"The currents of climate justice are coming to Pepco(al). It's time for them to dump the fossil fuels and nuclear and amp up the renewable energy. If they don't, we need to move immediately to create a people's utility instead," said DC Rising Tide member Lacy MacAuley.

The protest comes as the shareholders of Pepco Holdings Inc meet for their annual general meeting but fail to discuss a shareholder resolution filed to make the company support distributed solar energy in the District. DC SUN member John Capozzi, also a Pepco shareholder, filed a shareholder resolution in 2010 to force the company to work to facilitate residential solar projects in the District. But Pepco(al) and the Securities and Exchange Commission dismissed the shareholder resolution based on the erroneous claim that it only addressed the company's regular business operations.

"We want access to solar and we don't want Pepco to keep dragging its feet about it," said Robert Robinson of the DC Solar United Neighborhoods (DC SUN).

DC Rising Tide members also called for the corporation to pay reparations for their past and ongoing harm to communities and the environment. The company, for example, has declined to clean up and pay up for its PCB pollution of the Anacostia River from its Benning Road facility.

"It's time for Pepco(al) to change or be fired," said MacAuley. A number of concerned residents indicated that they would prefer a more accountable municipal utility. Montgomery County has already been discussing creating a public utility company that would be more accountable than Pepco(al), and the idea is gaining in popularity in DC as well.