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Big energy fights solar 

The Santa Barbara Planning Commission recently voted to deny ExxonMobil's proposal to restart offshore drilling and truck oil to Kern County on the dangerous and windy Route 166. The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will make a final decision in March.

Meanwhile, we face another threat to California's goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2045. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) plans to vote in the next few weeks to add a monthly solar penalty fee to ratepayer bills and drastically reduce the credit that solar consumers receive for selling excess power back to the grid.

This would make solar too costly for many people, other than the rich. It's a result of intense lobbying by big utilities—e.g., PG&E and Southern California Edison—fighting to maintain their profits rather than allowing citizens to use free, clean energy.

Sound crazy? Sure is. Solar saves money and lessens air pollution and greenhouse gases.More than 2,000 schools, 1,000 farms, 300 apartment buildings, and more than a million homes are powered directly by the sun.

Visit to sign the petition to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking him to deny the CPUC's proposal.

Rachel Altman

Santa Barbara

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