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Published on October 20th, 2016 | by Cynthia Shahan

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Florida Utility Industry Deceiving Voters On Amendment 1 (Leaked Audio)

October 20th, 2016 by  


One thing that stands out as I sit in EV Summit 2016 in Cocoa Beach is how doable and yet still rare a net-zero footprint is. Lack of knowledge and correct information leads to confusion. Confusion is clearly one part of the issue. Along those lines, in Florida, Amendment 1 is excruciatingly confusing.

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Danny Parker explaining his journey to net-zero energy. Talking net-zero energy at EV Summit 2016 — Danny solar charges his Volt.

The Miami Herald lights up the issue, hopefully in the nick of time:

“The policy director of a think tank hired by Florida’s largest electric utilities admitted at a conference this month what opponents have claimed for months: the industry attempted to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on the expansion of solar by shrouding Amendment 1 as a pro-solar amendment.”

It is up to voters again, but voters can be confused by language. Is Amendment 1 worded to trick voters into voting backward instead of voting to open up better options with affordable solar energy?

The article confirms that it is indeed a trick, and a dirty one:

“David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute, one of the groups that obtained the tape, said the audio reveals that the groups behind Amendment 1 ‘were very clear about the utilities’ plan when they thought the public wasn’t listening: They’re trying to confuse voters into believing their utility-backed ballot initiative is pro-solar.

‘It’s a dirty trick, and Floridians should show them that they’re too smart to let them get away with it.’ ”

People want to have choices — in the energy market as well as others — and a better price for electricity. They want an economical choice that mitigates pollution and mitigates resource depletion.

The question today is: Will voters decipher the information correctly, and in time? Will they discern, through the language of the amendment, its real purpose? The Miami Herald highlights how Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, chimed in on Amendment 1 at the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit :

“Nuzzo called the amendment, which has received more than $21 million in utility industry financing, ‘an incredibly savvy maneuver’ that ‘would completely negate anything they (pro-solar interests) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road,’ according to an audio recording of the event supplied to the Herald/Times.”

He offers advice on how to make the most of “the opportunity” to discuss solar and bring legislative change (that stalls rooftop solar):

“To the degree that we can use a little bit of political jiu-jitsu and take what they’re kind of pinning us on and use it to our benefit either in policy, in legislation or in constitutional referendums — if that’s the direction you want to take — use the language of promoting solar, and kind of, kind of put in these protections for consumers that choose not to install rooftop.”

Read MiamiHerald.com‘s full story on Amendment 1 in Florida for more details on the leaked audio and nefarious approach. 

The Florida League of Women Voters calls Amendment 1 a “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” —  as does Justice Barbara Pariente.

Justice Barbara Pariente, in her dissenting opinion in the vote to put it on the ballot, called it “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” since it opens the door to solar fees (not solar choice) and is “masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative.”

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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan started writing by doing research as a social cultural and sometimes medical anthropology thinker. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education. Eventually becoming an organic farmer, licensed AP, anthropologist, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)



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