Coalition Slams Duke Energy for Funding Voter Suppression Laws and Dirty Energy Policies
A coalition of environmental, democratic reform and civil rights groups released an open letter to Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers today, calling on him to stop funding voter suppression by dropping the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) before the Democratic National Conference.
The groups signing today’s letter and launching public petitions include: Energy Action Coalition, Greenpeace, Common Cause, CREDO Action, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Public Citizen, Center for Media & Democracy, Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International, Southern Energy Network and the Checks & Balances Project.
“ALEC is not only responsible for drafting model state laws attacking renewable energy programs and climate policies, it is also intentionally crafting and supporting Voter ID bills and other legislation designed to suppress people from voting and participating in our democracy. We are concerned about this fundamental attack on our democracy and civil rights, and Duke Energy’s support for it” read the joint letter.
The groups are calling on Duke Energy to drop ALEC immediately. ALEC has pushed for voter suppression laws that could be responsible for disenfranchising upwards of 5 million people in 2012, and stood against renewable energy programs and policies to fight climate change. Publicly, Duke Energy has pledged to address climate change and implement clean energy programs, despite continuing their association with ALEC.
“It’s time for Jim Rogers and Duke Energy to put their money where their mouth is and drop ALEC. Duke Energy claims to care about climate change and clean energy, and yet they work with ALEC, an organization that fights tooth and nail for legislation that ignores the realities of climate change, and attacks clean energy programs,” said Maura Cowley, executive director of Energy Action Coalition. “On top of that, Duke is supporting ALEC’s flagrant attempts to strip people of their civil rights and the right to vote. We’re calling on Jim Rogers to cut Duke Energy’s ties to ALEC immediately.”
During the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, Duke Energy’s hometown, the coalition plans to take further action to expose Duke Energy for supporting ALEC and funding voter suppression. Details will be released early next week.
Thirty-eight companies including General Electric, Walmart and Entergy Services have left ALEC in recent months due to ALEC’s role in supporting voter suppression and advancing the “Stand Your Ground Laws” that drew fire after the Trayvon Martin case.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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