Southern Company Premiere Protest Draws Crowds Asking Questions
As Southern Company's centennial has come around, the corporation has celebrated with a documentary, Big Bets, patting themselves on the backs for making "big bets" that were risky, but ultimately brought the light of progress to the South. In response to this propaganda, organizers from several groups came together to shed some ight on the truth about the Company and what its doing. Monday's protest against Southern Company brought out around 50 people from Occupy Atlanta, environmental, and anti-nuclear groups alike. Despite suffering a last minute time change and a crossover with solidarity protest with prison hunger strikers, energy was up and the public responded positively to the message.
"Why are y'all out here?" The response: to protest Southern Company's betting their ratepayers money on dangerous new coal and nuclear power, all while spending tens of millions lobbying against environmental and health laws. Persons in cars on Peachtree were treated to flyers about Southern Company's destructive policies, but a large banner hung from the 9th floor the corner building said it simply: Stop Plant Vogtle.
Vogtle is the nuclear plant Georgia Power jointly owns/operates in Burke county, one of the poorest counties in Georgia. Currently there are two reactors there, and Southern Company recently convinced the Georgia legislature and Public Service Commission to buiild two more. Despite health concerns from residents who are suffering a cancer rate 51% higher than the national average, and $1 billion in cost overruns before any plant construction has begun, Southern Company and its subsiidiary Georgia Power are plowing ahead. When construction began on the first two reactors in 1980, the projected cost was supposedly only $300 million. In the end, the price tage was $8 billion -- 1200% over budget.
Thanks to the "Construction Work In Progress" fee that our legislature passed, Georgia Power/Southern Company are now able to ask us to pay for their $8 billion share of the plant, and whatever cost overages they incur, no matter how much or many delays there are.
"Why are you betting with our money?", one protester asked stunned and silent Southern Company employees.
80% of the energy generated by Southern Company comes from fossil fuels. And they've fought hard to protect their stale and tired energy portfolio. The largest polluting coal plants in the country are here in Georgia -- plants which contribute to the tens of hundreds hospitalized every year from their ill health effects. And with the hundreds of millions it has spent in the past decade fighting against a cleaner environment, people's health standards, and burying green energy research, Southern Company seems intent on keeping it the same ol', same ol'.
Despite being ignored by most of Southern Company's drones as they entered and hastily exited out the side doors of the Fox Theater, the attention drawn was surely unwanted by the large corporation -- one that has hired the most lobbyists in recent years influencing Congress to strike down environmental protection laws. To help make the public aware and dispel the lies. is our duty.
The question remains: why is Southern Company betting with our money? Why should we pay for them to make us unsafe, buying our elected officials, all while padding their own pockets?
"You've seen the propaganda, now see the facts," said another activist as employees egressed.
To find out more about the unfair "nuclear tax" (CWIP -Construction Work In Progress) that Georgia Power is charging you on your bill, or how to join in the fight, check out www.stopplantvogtle.com and www.gawand.com