Local religions, businesses and politicians team up to fight a proposed solar fee

- SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – Some in Utah are using this holiday to draw attention to a different kind of pioneering spirit.

Local business and religious leaders are teaming up with elected officials to take a stand on renewable energy.

It's a coalition of congregations coming together for a common cause.

"We need to take care of our earth our state, our health," said Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman, of Congregation Kol Ami.

They are taking a stand as we celebrate the heritage of our state.

"We are pioneers," said Mark Thomas, with Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance.

They say they are pioneers of clean, renewable energy.

Lutherans, Methodists, Mormons and Jews, all gathered at Congregation Kol Ami to protest Rocky Mountain Power's proposal for a solar tax.

"I made an investment to add solar to my home to not only reduce my energy use, but to do something about the terrible air we have in the valley," said Christ United Methodist Church member, Jay Vestal.

Now Vestal says he will be penalized for being responsible if the fee goes through.

He and other members of the group say renewable energy is the wave of the future and insist Rocky Mountain Power is dwelling on the past.

"Investors should shy away from coal power plants, because they are dead assets. Rocky Mountain Power is not heeding that advice, because they have so much invested in it," said Thomas.

That's why they are calling on all people to contact the Public Service Commission.

They hope to put the pressure on to stop the fee in its tracks.

"We want to be able to encourage people instead of deterring them from using renewable energy to make Utah and the rest of the world a more sustainable place," said Schwartzman.

A vision this group believes can pay off now and for generations to come.

"I’m proud to support a group that supports stewardship of the earth. That we can hand down to our children better than what we received it today," said Thomas.

The group is organizing a public rally on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. It will be held at the office of the Public Service Commission at 4 PM.

It coincides with a hearing where anyone can share their thoughts about the proposal.

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