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Last week, Rep. Shuler and Perriello headlined a press conference hosted by Faith in Public Life featuring a who’s who of the faith community and rolling out the largest paid media campaign ever by progressives targeting faith voters with an ad on Christian radio voiced by Rev. Joel Hunter, (breath) and the group behind the campaign, the American Values Network, is running a second ad calling out the massive energy conglomerate, Southern Company, for it’s opposition to this effort.
Ok, that was a ton to fit into a one-sentence description…and isn’t it something that our side has so much going on these days?! Not only has a huge assembly of denominations and church groups joined forces with military leaders to lift up this new faith and security message on the climate bill, but they have real funding behind the effort. And they are being strategic about how they use it. Instead of just preaching to the converts and our own base (as has often been the case in the past), they are targeting their message at swing constituencies in swing districts. And the press is paying attention.
The most recent ad running on Country and Christian radio throughout Southern’s service region highlights why these efforts are so important and why people of faith need to amplify this message and speak out. Southern Company, the energy conglomerate that owns a number of the utilities in the South, specifically targeted this coalition of faith and military leaders because Southern rightly saw the coalition’s moral/national security message as a serious threat and way for moderate Dems who were in more conservative districts to vote in favor. Southern unleashed the 70+ DC lobbyists it has hired this year to try to kill the climate bill (it’s already spent over $4.2 million on lobbying this year) to push back against the faith and military coalition and threaten and cajole Members thinking of lending their support.
Southern was especially concerned about the provisions championed by the coalition that would provided adaptation funding to the world’s poor to help them adapt to climate change and prevent regions from becoming destabilized, and that would have given direct rebates directly to Americans to help offset rising energy costs. Even though these provisions would have given more resources to the areas that have the greatest economic need and would likely see their energy costs increase the most under a cap and trade system (which meant people Southern Company supposedly services would have gotten a bigger piece of the pie), Southern wants all the resources from cap and trade to go directly to the energy companies (mostly b/c it knows that will never happen and allow it to kill the bill). And it rightly saw the moral/national security message of this coalition as a serious threat to those efforts and way for moderate Dems who were in more conservative districts to vote in favor of the bill.
The only way the people will be able to overcome the money and influence of these big conglomerates is if we speak out and speak often. Please spread the word, and take the advice in the radio ads to call your Member of Congress at 877-88-CLIMATE to ask them to stand up to Big Energy and vote the right way.