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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

On a recent vacation trip to a cabin rented near Blue Ridge, my wife and I were struck by the incredible beauty around us. The Chattahoochee National Forest is an astonishing treasure, and we even went to the Sasquatch Museum.

I was happy to pick up a copy of Smoke Signals after a wonderful day hike with our dog to the waterfall at Amicalola Falls State Park. As a Sierra Club member, I was thrilled by the great scenery and plentiful outdoor activities, and I was also pleased to see the Smoke Signals news article about the environmental outreach efforts of Leadership Big Canoe.

But with the mounting crisis posed by our changing climate, it’s going to take more than cloth grocery bags and recycling bins to tackle the problem. Amicalola EMC is a nearby electrical co-op, but could do more to be a clean energy leader among its peers. For example, Walton EMC has signed a major contract for a utility-scale solar project to provide electricity for a Facebook data center in Newton County, and in April, Green Power EMC launched a major job-creating solar project in Jeff Davis County. The “alternate energy fact sheet” on Amicalola’s website hasn’t been updated in eight years. Although it’s good to encourage customers to install rooftop solar panels, a lot has changed in the last eight years in the world of utility investments in large-scale clean energy projects.

The efforts of the Big Canoe community deserve plenty of praise in raising awareness of environmental waste. And it’s good that the beauty of the waterfall at Amicalola Falls State Park is being preserved for future generations to enjoy. But local electricity providers need to step up their commitments to building large scale clean energy generation facilities in order to displace the fossil fuels being burned and threatening Georgia’s great splendor.

Clean sources of electricity are more affordable than ever, and the low cost of solar energy could easily be passed on to utility customers on their power bills.

We’re looking forward to our next trip to the area, and might even give Springer Mountain a try. Hopefully by then, our rented cabin will be powered 100 percent by clean energy.

Stephen Stetson,
Senior Campaign Representative

Alabama-Georgia-Mississippi

Beyond Coal Campaign

Sierra Club

Montgomery, Alabama

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