Citizens for Responsible Solar was founded in an exurb of Washington, D.C., by a longtime political operative named Susan Ralston who worked in the White House under President George W. Bush and still has deep ties to power players in conservative politics.
Ralston tapped conservative insiders to help set up and run Citizens for Responsible Solar. She also consulted with a longtime activist against renewable energy who once defended former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claim that noise from wind turbines can cause cancer. And when Ralston was launching the group, a consulting firm she owns got hundreds of thousands of dollars from the foundation of a leading GOP donor who is also a major investor in fossil fuel companies. It’s unclear what the money to Ralston’s firm was used for. Ralston has previously denied that Citizens for Responsible Solar received money from fossil fuel interests.
Ralston said in an email to NPR and Floodlight that Citizens for Responsible Solar is a grassroots organization that helps other activists on a volunteer basis. The group isn’t opposed to solar, Ralston said, just projects built on farmland and timberland. Solar panels belong on “industrial-zoned land, marginal or contaminated land, along highways, and on commercial and residential rooftops,” she said.
But her group’s rhetoric points to a broader agenda of undermining public support for solar. Analysts who follow the industry say Citizens for Responsible Solar stokes opposition to solar projects by spreading misinformation online about health and environmental risks. The group’s website says solar requires too much land for “unreliable energy,” ignoring data showing power grids can run dependably on lots of renewables. And it claims large solar projects in rural areas wreck the land and contribute to climate change, despite evidence to the contrary.
deleted by creator