Rally Against AB 726 Sneak Attack

Upwards of thirty-five East Bay residents, representing a number of community organizations, gathered for an impromptu noon-time rally in front of State Senator Nancy Skinner’s office on Wednesday, September 13, during the last week of the legislative session.

The rally, called by the East Bay Clean Power Alliance, was to protest AB 726 (and a nearly identical AB 813), which would have created a de facto freeze on Alameda County’s new Community Choice energy program, East Bay Community Energy, set to deliver power to residents and businesses in mid-2018.

AB 726, introduced by at the last minute of the legislative session by Assemblymember Chris Holden, was a sneak attack by Governor Brown and the fossil fuel industry to derail our state's forward motion on developing local renewable energy resources and on Community Choice energy programs, in particular. Several California counties, including Alameda, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Monterey, and Yolo, are on the verge of launching Community Choice energy programs. AB 726 would put the brakes on all of these programs and undercut their ability to take control of electrical power supplies and create a local clean energy economy.

“East Bay families and communities have worked hard to establish East Bay Community Energy to provide benefits such as clean energy jobs in Alameda County.  We can’t let fossil fuel corporations take our local control away,” said Jessica Tovar, Coordinator of the East Bay Clean Power Alliance.  “Community Choice energy offers the potential to create local clean energy jobs, while empowering our communities with local control over our energy system. We need to resist the fossil fuel corporate power grab and create a clean energy future throughout the state of California!”
“We want to create a just transition locally, where we can end the exploitive fossil fuel energy industry and start providing solar benefits for low income and persons of color,” said Jing Jing He of Asian Pacific Environmental Network.  “We have worked for years to establish East Bay Community Energy to provide benefits to our monolingual immigrant community members!  We are strongly opposed to AB 726--and AB 813--and demand our representatives support our communities fight for environmental justice!”

After the rally, a number of protestors met with Nancy Skinner's staff. Later that day, Holden shelved the bill, holding it over for the next legislative session.

The East Bay Clean Power Alliance is a broad coalition of community and environmental justice organizations, and labor unions, advocating for strong community benefits and community engagement in East Bay Community Energy.