Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'Family Values' Papillion Sen. Jim Smith is state chairmain of ALEC, a group planning monthly fees on homeowners who buy solar panels; ALEC called an 'institutionalization of corruption'

Left: Nebraska ALEC chairman, Jim Smith, District 14, Papillion;
right: solar installers; Oncor via Flickr

Jim Smith is the Dist. 14 Unicameral senator from Papillion who campaigned on a family values platform, then performed as a corporate values legislator. He is also the state chairman of ALEC, a 40-year-old organization funded by right-wing Koch Bros. billionaires to get "model legislation" (drafted by corporate lobbyists) passed in state legislatures. ALEC ran interference for apartheid in the 1980s.
     In 2012, Smith introduced legislation (LB1161) to make eminent domain condemnation of Nebraska farms and ranches easier for foreign oil corporations, then deferred to TransCanada lawyers when asked detailed questions about the bill he supposedly wrote. He also took a luxurious, expense-paid Alberta to tour of TransCanada operations, but failed to file a disclosure reporting the junket, possibly committing a class IV felony.
     As the state chairman of ALEC, part of Jim Smith's responsibilities to ALEC will be to introduce new "model legislation" which will levy fees on homeowners who install their own solar panels.
     The Guardian interviewed John Eick, the legislative analyst for Alec's energy, environment and agriculture program:
     Eick told the Guardian the group would be looking closely in the coming year at how individual homeowners with solar panels are compensated for feeding surplus electricity back into the grid.
     "This is an issue we are going to be exploring," Eick said. He said Alec wanted to lower the rate electricity companies pay homeowners for direct power generation – and maybe even charge homeowners for feeding power into the grid.
     "As it stands now, those direct generation customers are essentially freeriders on the system. They are not paying for the infrastructure they are using. In effect, all the other non direct generation customers are being penalised," he said.
     Eick dismissed the suggestion that individuals who buy and install home-based solar panels had made such investments. "How are they going to get that electricity from their solar panel to somebody else's house?" he said. "They should be paying to distribute the surplus electricity."
Lisa Graves, of the Center for Media and Democracy, commenting on recent Wikileaks documents exposing ALEC's dubious behavior over the last 40 years:
"I think the documents illustrate quite conclusively what we've been saying all along: that ALEC is one of the biggest pay-to-play operations in the country. I think it's an institutionalization of corruption."

1 comment:

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