10,000 Households in Kings County Learn How Unions Are Extorting Solar Power Developers (Such as Recurrent Energy)

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UPDATE: On October 1, 2012, the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow issued a press release announcing its follow-up to the 10,000 mailers: “Opponents of Union Manipulation of Mustang Ranch Solar Power Plant in Kings County Launch 10,000 Robo Calls About Union Greenmail on Project: Union Extortion Tactic Exposed to General Public in Widely Dispersed Automated Call.”


 

Front of mailer sent to 10,000 households in Kings County (California) informing residents about how unions are abusing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to block solar power plant construction until the developers sign a Project Labor Agreement - a practice known as "greenmail."

Front of mailer sent to 10,000 households in Kings County (California) informing residents about how unions are abusing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to block solar power plant construction until the developers sign a Project Labor Agreement – a practice known as “greenmail.”

Union CEQA Abuse Works! Please read: the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) signed by Recurrent Energy with unions for the construction of Mustang Solar Generation Project in Kings County, California.


Residents of Kings County (in the San Joaquin Valley of California) see local opportunities for economic growth and job creation through the construction and operation of proposed solar-powered electrical generation facilities. At the same time, residents worry about the possibility that out-of-town developers could build or partially build these solar power facilities on former farmland but then abandon them to rust when solar energy is found not to be profitable.

This is why the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow (ACT), a project of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC), mailed 10,000 educational pieces this week to Kings County households informing them that construction trade unions are abusing the the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to grab control of solar power construction jobs, in the process increasing costs of construction and risking the economic viability of solar energy generation in the San Joaquin Valley.

Back of mailer sent to 10,000 households in Kings County (California) informing residents about how unions are abusing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to block solar power plant construction until the developers sign a Project Labor Agreement - a practice known as "greenmail."

Back of mailer sent to 10,000 households in Kings County (California) informing residents about how unions are abusing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to block solar power plant construction until the developers sign a Project Labor Agreement – a practice known as “greenmail.”

In a press release issued today (September 25, 2012), the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow reported that it intended to make 10,000 Kings County households aware of the epidemic of union “greenmail” against renewable energy projects in the San Joaquin Valley – and specifically against Recurrent Energy‘s Mustang Solar Generation Project in Kings County.

Groups such as California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local No. 100 in Fresno exploit the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other environmental laws to delay proposed projects. Their objective is to coerce developers to hand over monopoly control of the construction to unions through a Project Labor Agreement. The CEQA abuse racket is called “greenmail,” and it is rampant throughout California.

A San Francisco-based company, Recurrent Energy, succumbed to the union CEQA threats and signed a Project Labor Agreement for construction of the Mustang Solar Generation Project in Kings County.

Eric Christen, executive director of the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow, says the following in the September 25, 2012 press release:

For too long, construction unions have claimed, with a straight face, that solar power is bad for the environment. It’s as shameless as it is absurd. The unions block or threaten to block solar power projects using the California Environmental Quality Act – commonly known as CEQA – until the developer surrenders to the unions and agrees to sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). This is exactly what happened on the 160 megawatt solar power plant in Lemoore called the Mustang Solar Generation Project.

The press release also outlines the details of how greenmail works.

The Kings County Planning Commission had received this letter from CURE when Recurrent (Energy) first made its plans known for a Kings County project. Like rain in springtime, these implicitly threatening letters appear like clockwork as soon as a project is announced anywhere in California…The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 100 has a long history of hiring the law firm of Adams, Broadwell, Joseph & Cardozo out of South San Francisco to dig up alleged environmental problems with solar projects. One of the most prominent was the Fresno Airport Parking solar project in 2007.

Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo is cited in the Project Labor Agreement for the Mustang Solar Generation Project.

The press release concludes with the motivation for sending the mailers:

We’re going to make sure that Kings County residents and the people of California and the San Joaquin Valley know why solar power plants are so expensive, why they are taking so long to build, and why local workers don’t get to build them,” Christen added.

When will the California State Legislature reform CEQA to stop this?

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