In the last days of the legislative session, CEJA members and our allies went head-to-head with big utilities in the halls of Sacramento. Facing an army of lobbyists funded by California’s three biggest utilities, we flooded Senate offices phone calls and spent long hours in the Capitol fighting for AB 1990, “Solar For All,” (authored by Assemblymember Paul Fong). Ultimately, the big utilities were able to peel off enough weak Senators to kill Solar For All on the Senate Floor.
The bill passed the Assembly and two Senate Committees, and was predicted to pass the Senate Floor – just one step away from being signed into law. In the last days of the session, Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison utility companies mobilized statewide and even nationally to squash AB 1990 because of the precedent is would set. It would have democratized energy production and forced the utilities to engage in a program that focuses on benefits to low-income communities and communities of color, instead of benefits to the bottom line.
CEJA is deeply disappointed in the moderate democrats who sided with big utilities instead of their own constituents. These moderate democrats represent areas with the highest rates of pollution from dirty power plants and oil refineries, and the highest rates of unemployment – areas such as Huntington Park, East Los Angeles, Kern County, the Mission District in San Francisco, Chula Vista, Santa Ana, and the San Fernando Valley. Instead of representing the needs of residents in their districts, they sided with industry and either voted against AB 1990 or failed to vote at all.
Despite the big utilities stealing the last step in our victory, we achieved great things throughout the AB 1990 campaign. We will use the momentum from this year to continue to push for renewable energy in low-income communities and to bridge the “green divide,” targeting key agencies like the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission. We have grown stronger, and are ready to take on the big utilities and to hold our elected officials accountable.CEJA is deeply grateful for the community leaders and supporters who stepped up and made their voices heard to support Solar for All.
Thank you for your commitment and let’s continue the fight!
Check out this great article on AB 1990 featuring CEJA member Environmental Health Coalition!