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9
Jun

Chairman Mendelson: Restore Funds, Deploy Solar, Reduce Carbon, Help People!

Fri Jun 09, 2017 at 01:44:43 PM EST

By DC Environmental Network

June 9, 2017

DC Environmental Network:

The DC Council FINAL budget vote is just under 4 days away!

It has only been 9 days since we found out Chairman Phil Mendelson swept $7.5 million dollars from funds that are supposed to deploy solar energy, reduce carbon emissions, and help low-income District resident with energy costs.

Tell Chairman Mendelson you want a clean energy future and restoration of the $7.5 million!

Since we received the sad news, many renewable energy advocates, organizations, businesses, and others, have been working hard to get past all the noise during budget season, and communicate with DC Councilmembers and staff about the need to restore these special purpose funds.

We have asked several Council offices to approach the Chairman and see if something can be worked out. We are at the point in the budget process where it takes a bit of coordination and communication to make stuff happen.

We continue to move forward.

Today we delivered a coalition letter to Chairman Mendelson signed by some of the most active District advocates, organizations, associations, and renewable energy businesses. We expressed our opposition to the raid of Renewable Energy Development Funds (REDF) and requested he restore the money.

You can read our coalition letter here.

Signatories included the Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, DC Climate Action, DC Consumer Utility Board, DC Environmental Network, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, DC Public Banking Center, DC Sierra Club, DC Solar United Neighborhoods, DC Statehood Green Party, Foundation Earth, Global Green USA, Green Cross International, GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Institute for Sustainable Power, MDV-SEIA, National Housing Trust, New Columbia Solar, The Ocean Foundation, Washington Parks & People, and Wentworth Green Strategies.

We are also continuing to send emails to the Council expressing our opposition to this sweep of important renewable energy funds. Take action right now! We need your voice.

(I know many of you have not yet sent an email to the Council. Please take a moment to click on one of the links and go to the DC SUN website and make your voice heard.)

What we, and all global citizens, do locally in response to President Trump’s inaction on climate change, may be the most essential element to the success, and survival of our planet.

I would hate to wake up the day after the Council vote knowing we had given up important resources needed to grow the District’s clean energy future and help some of our neighbors who need assistance.

Hopefully a commitment to taking the necessary action to combat climate change will prevail.

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

 

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6
Jun

Climate Action: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Tue Jun 06, 2017 at 02:35:36 PM EST

by DC Environmental Network

Two Steps Forward by Mayor Bowser and Councilmember Cheh, One Step Back by DC Council Chairman Mendelson on Climate Change!

[DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and DOEE Director, Tommy Wells, at yesterday’s signing of the Mayor’s Order to re-affirm the District’s commitment to the global Paris Climate Agreement.]

In the last week, as the Mayor, and some on the Council move forward with a strong climate agenda, why is Phil Mendelson taking a big step backward?

– Last Thursday, Mary Cheh, Chairperson of the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment, called on Mayor Bowser to join the newly formed United States Climate Alliance committed to upholding the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

– Just yesterday, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a Mayor’s Order to reaffirm the District’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, and dig in with meaningful programs to reduce carbon emissions.

The question many are asking, as others move forward, is why DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is taking a step backward, and raiding $7.5 million in Renewable Energy Development Funds (REDF) that should be used for the District’s Solar for All program to reduce carbon emissions and help low income residents stabilize their energy costs?

Tell Chairman Mendelson to take a step forward and make sure the $7.5 million in REDF funds are restored and used to deploy solar energy!

Now many in the DC solar movement continue to appreciate that Chairman Mendelson has been supportive of renewable energy programs in the past and many call him the “Father of the Renewable Portfolio Standard” in the District, as he worked with DCEN and others, over ten years ago, to establish the District’s first targets for solar energy.

That’s exactly why so many of us are scratching our heads and wondering why Phil would not make sure that special purpose REDF funds, meant to be focused on deploying solar energy, were used just for that purpose?

Chairman Mendelson has suggested that unspent REDF funds are fair game for the taking.

We believe, no matter the circumstances, to use these funds for anything other than growing local solar ignores the reality that our planet needs to deploy as much renewable energy as we can if we are ever going to be able to push back against the growing impacts of global climate change.

We believe what Chairman Mendelson should be doing, as a leader in efforts to promote renewable energy, is protecting these REDF funds and making darn sure that they are used appropriately in support of a clean energy future in the District.

Here are two things you can do to help make this happen:

1. Take a minute and go to the DC Solar United Neighborhoods (DC SUN) website and send an email to the Council today asking that they fix this terrible mistake. CLICK HERE!

2. On Friday, DCEN will be delivering a coalition letter to the Council urging them to restore the $7.5 million Renewable Energy Development Funds. If your organization is interested in signing on, send an email to cweiss@globalgreen.org.

We still have time to make this happen. Thank you!

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1
Jun

Mendelson: Restore Renewable Energy Funds!

Thu Jun 01, 2017 at 02:12:10 PM EST

By DC Environmental Network

DC Environmental Network:

I need to update you quickly on an important, new, DC budget challenge.

I am writing this as our President, Donald Trump, just announced he is going to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. This is not a surprise. I expected this to happen.

Former President Barack Obama quickly responded:

“I am confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”

Just two days ago I found out something that did surprise me. And not in a good way.

In a surprise move, behind closed doors, and with no public input, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson swept $7.5 million dollars from the Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF).

The stated purpose of this fund (REDF) is to create renewable energy:

“(c) The Fund shall be used solely for the purpose of making loans, grants, rebates, and other financial incentives to support the creation of new solar energy sources in the District of Columbia and for otherwise administering the Fund. The Fund may be used to supplement programs supporting the creation of new solar energy sources in the District of Columbia through the Sustainable Energy Utility contract established by Chapter 17N of Title 8 [§ 8-1773.01 et seq.].”

As former President Obama is calling on cities to “step up and do even more”, some on the DC Council, are forgetting we have a global climate crisis, exacerbated by the actions of a climate change denier president. Unless we convince them otherwise, this Council plans on taking funds that are supposed to help create a clean energy future and using them for other purposes.

DC Council: This is NOT the time to cut funding for renewable energy programs!

This is the time to expand, not decrease, our efforts to grow renewable energy in DC. It’s not going to be easy, but if we commit to this, we can show the world, even as President Trump tries to dismantle our efforts to combat climate change, that the District of Columbia is going to “step up and do even more.” We can show the world that even if we are not part of the Paris Climate Agreement, we are all committed to doing our part.

Our last chance to stop this will be at the final DC Council consideration of the “Fiscal Year 2018 Local Budget Act of 2017” that is scheduled for June 13th, a little over ten days from today.

The DC Environmental Network, and other organizations and coalitions, are trying to figure out next steps. We will continue to update you on this important budget issue.

In the meantime, send an email to Chairman Mendelson at PMendelson@dccouncil.us, urging him to use the Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF) to develop renewable energy! It’s that simple.

Chris Weiss
Director, Washington DC Office
DC Environmental Network, Global Green, USA

 

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25
May

Mayor Bowser’s Green Bank Bill!

Thu May 25, 2017 at 02:41:37 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Global Green USA

Mayor Bowser wants to make Washington, DC, the first city in the United States (and second in the world) to create a Green Bank!

Mark your calendars. On June 23rd at noon, join the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) for our monthly networking event.

We are putting together a special briefing on Mayor Bowser’s legislation to create a Green Bank in the District. This DCEN event will be hosted by the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) at 1200 First Street NE, 5th Floor. You can RSVP here!

To present and answer questions, we have assembled the following panel:

– Tommy Wells, Director, Department of Energy and Environment

– Sarah Dougherty, Green Finance Manager, Natural Resources Defense Council

– Larry Martin, Advisory Committee, DC Public Banking  Center AND representing DC chapter of the Sierra Club

– Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network, Global Green USA (Moderator)

Background:

On April 25, 2017, Councilmember Mendelson introduced Mayor Bowser’s Green Bank bill, B22-0257, the District of Columbia Green Finance Authority Establishment Act of 2017. This legislation would create the District of Columbia Green Finance Authority (“DC Green Bank”) to increase the availability of financing for energy efficiency, clean and renewable energy, clean transportation vehicles and infrastructure, stormwater management, sustainable projects and programs, water efficiency, and green infrastructure projects in the District.

You can RSVP here to attend this DCEN briefing!

DCEN is convening this briefing to help the DC sustainability community, and anyone who is interested, learn about this exciting new proposal. Some areas that will be covered:

1. What is a Green Finance Authority (Green Bank)?

2. What other jurisdictions around the world are utilizing this finance mechanism?

3. How would the District’s Green Bank work and enhance our current finance setup?

4. There is a local Public Bank movement in the District. The Council is considering funding a DC Public Bank Feasibility Study in the next fiscal year. What is the relationship between a public bank and a green bank? Do they have overlapping elements?

5. For over a year and a half, DCEN has been involved in discussions focused on putting a price on carbon in the District. Several participants have asked whether some of the collected revenue could be used in support of a green finance authority? How might this work and what might be a meaningful contribution looking forward?

Please RSVP here if you would like to attend!

Definition of Green Bank:

“A Green Bank is a public or quasi-public institution that finances the deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other clean energy and green infrastructure projects in partnership with private lenders. They are an institutional platform for public-private partnerships (“PPP” or “P3”). Green Banks are capitalized with public funds, which are then used to offer loans, leases, credit enhancements and other financing services to close gaps in the private capital markets for clean energy projects. Green Banks typically invest in the project deployment of mature, commercially viable technologies – not in early stage tech or in clean energy companies. The goal of a Green Bank is to accelerate the deployment of clean energy by removing the upfront cost of adoption, leveraging greater private investment in clean energy, and increasing the efficiency of public dollars.” – District of Columbia Green Bank Report, DOEE, April 3, 2017

Additional background materials:

Legislative Summary, Bill History, Introduction, Other Documents.

Green Bank 101

District of Columbia Green Bank Report, April 3, 2017

Hope to see you June 23rd at Noon!

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20
May

Leaf Blower Regulation Amendment Act of 2017

Sat May 20, 2017 at 02:59:01 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Mark your calendars! Join DCEN on Friday, June 2nd, at Noon!

How a DC Council Leaf Blower Bill Can Help Protect the Health of DC Families!

On April 4th, Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced Bill 22-0234, the “Leaf Blower Regulation Amendment Act of 2017.” This bill’s intent is to “amend the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations to prohibit the sale and use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers in the District of Columbia by January 1, 2022.” This bill was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Allen, Grosso, McDuffie, and Bonds.

On June 2nd at NOON, join the DC Environmental Network for our monthly networking opportunity. We will focus on Councilmember Cheh’s bill, and other local and national efforts, to phase out noisy, polluting two-stroke gas engines (leaf blowers) in the United States. RSVP HERE!

This event will be held at the offices of Friends of the Earth and Green Cross International, 1101 15th Street NW, 11th Floor. All are welcome. RSVP HERE!

Our panel will include representatives from Quiet Clean D.C., a volunteer public health non-profit group based in Washington DC. From their website:

Look forward to seeing you on June 2nd.

 

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19
May

Budget Update: DC Environment had a Good Day!

Fri May 19, 2017 at 02:53:26 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Global Green USA

Wednesday was a good day for the District!

DC Environmental Network:

Last Wednesday, the DC Council Committee on Transportation & Environment took a very important step towards supporting recycling programs, helping DC families in need, and restoring the Anacostia River.

After the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) convened budget briefings on Mayor Bowser’s proposed FY18 Budget, at both the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and the District Department of Public Works (DPW), as well as testifying at two performance oversight and two budget oversight hearings for the same agencies, DCEN had to decide what our budget advocacy priorities would be.

In the end, we decided to work towards restoring funding and staff to DC recycling programs, restoring funding to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and restoring funds slated to be used for Anacostia River restoration efforts. 

We are so very pleased to report that at the Committee on Transportation and the Environment mark-up of Mayor Bowser’s budget, the sustainability community made progress on every single budget goal and restored over $7.5 million dollars to important, proven, programs that are designed to help all of us live healthy and happy lives. Here are some details:

We even made progress in other areas including funding for a new composting facility and a new environmentally focused position (staff lawyer) at the Office of Attorney General. It was a very good day for the sustainability community.

It was clear as DCEN watched the budget mark-up that committee Chairperson Cheh, and Councilmember’s Allen, Evans, McDuffie, and Todd, had all done their homework, and were working hard to do a good job. The results were commendable and we are all very thankful for their efforts.

The Council still has to hold two more votes on the entire budget. The first vote of the full Council will be on May 30th, the final vote will be June 1st. Both votes will begin at 10:00 AM, and be held at the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room 500. I am hoping some of you can join me in support of our budget goals.

DCEN will continue to monitor Council budget actions and make sure our changes survive the next few weeks. Thanks for all your help.

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network, Global Green USA

 

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15
May

Restore $5 million for Anacostia River!

Mon May 15, 2017 at 01:06:50 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Global Green USA

DC Council: Restore $5 million in FY18 capital funds for Anacostia River clean-up projects!

DC Environmental Network:

As many of you know, Mayor Bowser removed $5 million in FY18 capital funds that were targeted for hazardous material remediation of the Anacostia River bottom sediments and the contaminated land areas adjacent (particularly to Ward 8’s Poplar Point and Ward 7’s Kenilworth North).

Now many of us are scrambling trying to figure out if we have enough leverage to convince the Council to restore these important funds.

We should not have to be doing this. 

We should not have to be advocating, again, for funds that had already been committed to help with the cleanup, the remediation of toxic sediments. Not now, not after so much work by so many, over too many years. The river, and adjacent, arguably too often forgotten communities, have been waiting far too long to see some measurable progress and experience a modicum of well deserved economic and environmental justice.

The DC Environmental Network, and many other DC citizens, river advocates, and organizations, should not have to repeat our efforts and use our limited time and resources to do what we thought had already been done.

Since 1996 the DC Environmental Network has never stopped working to restore and protect the Anacostia River that runs through many DC neighborhoods. We have worked hard to reduce the untreated sewage, polluted runoff, and trash, that makes its way into our rivers and creeks.

The last three years the DC Environmental Network has been part of Mayor Bowser’s Leadership Council for a Cleaner Anacostia River. When we meet we have been engaged in briefings and discussions on the Anacostia River Sediment Project as it moves towards it’s June 30th, 2018, Record of Decision (ROD) requirement. By this date a remedy for remediation of contaminated sediment in the Anacostia River must be chosen. This is a very important milestone in this lengthy process.

With the upcoming Record of Decision, the timing of this $5 million dollar cut to important river remediation efforts could not be worse. Additionally, this spending cut may be putting budget pressures on other important Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) programs as the District scrambles to fulfill its statutory requirements.

Our budget request:

The DC Environmental Network hopes the DC Council can figure out how to restore the $5 million in capital budget dollars for the Anacostia River. 

The bad news is that looming federal budget cuts, unecessary, scheduled tax relief for some of the largest, wealthiest, most successful DC businesses, and other factors, are creating a budget climate that makes finding $5 million a challenge.

The good news is one of our biggest Anacostia River champions, Councilmember Mary Cheh, is working hard to try to replace these funds.

[Photograph (L to R): Malusi Kitchen, Rev. Keith Kitchen (Zion Baptist Church of Eastland Gardens), Sheridan Fuller (Parkside Civic Association), and Russell Klein (Parkside Civic Association), testify in support of restoration of the $5 million.]

We believe if the Council pulls together and supports her efforts, the District can make progress restoring the Anacostia River, and bring more economic and environmental justice to the people who live along its banks.

[If you have not already, let DC Councilmember’s Jack Evans, Kenyan McDuffie, Charles Allen, and Brandon Todd, who are members of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, know you support restoring the $5 million. The mark-up for this committee is May 17th at 4:00 PM, in room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building. Hope to see you there!]

 

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13
May

Restore LIHEAP for Safe & Healthy Families!

Sat May 13, 2017 at 01:19:23 PM EST

by C. Weiss, DC Environmental Network

DC Council: Keep families safe and healthy by adding $3 million to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

DC Environmental Network:

The DC Environmental Network (DCEN) testified yesterday at the DC Council Committee of the Whole Public Hearing on DC Mayor Bowser’s budget. Our two goals:

1. Expressing solidarity with our progressive colleagues!

One reason DCEN showed up was to show solidarity with other progressive organizations and advocates in opposition to tax cuts for million-dollar estates and big businesses. With so many more important needs, like housing, schools, child and health care, and of course, our environmental sustainability agenda to save our city and the planet, we feel strongly that we should not tie our hands with unnecessary tax cuts. And with the District becoming increasingly unaffordable, struggling residents need help today!

2. Opposing cuts to LIHEAP. Supporting adding $3 million to make program whole.

Another reason to show up to testify was to express support for a program administered by our very own Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) called the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). DCEN opposes Mayor Bowser’s cuts to the program and recommends the DC Council add $3 million in local dollars, to help ensure the success of next year’s program. At the hearing DCEN stated:

“The DC Environmental Network has always appreciated DOEE’s efforts to help District residents use less energy and generate on-site clean energy. We have always thought the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, to “provide direct financial assistance and discounts to low-income residents to help offset their energy bills” is a critical enhancement to their work. It has seemed, with little exception, that almost every year, DCEN and others, have had to ask that you make changes to the budget to make sure that District residents who qualify and need help with their energy bills, can look to LIHEAP for some assistance. We were very proud to hear that in a recent year, I believe Fiscal Year 2016, the District did not have to turn away families in need of help. It felt like we had finally committed to making this program work. Today the need for LIHEAP is just as great, maybe even greater, and not being able to pay an energy bill can start a tragic downward spiral that can drastically hurt District families. The DC Environmental strongly supports increasing funding to LIHEAP by $3 million dollars.”

With all the major budget issues before the Council, including funding important housing, paid leave, and school programs, we are hoping the DC Council will not forget the important role LIHEAP plays in the District’s social safety net. 

We know and appreciate that Councilmember Cheh, who chairs the Committee on Transportation and Environment (DOEE), and has DOEE oversight, is working hard to figure how to make LIHEAP whole in 2018.

The DC Environmental Network is doing what we can to support this goal.

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network, Global Green USA

 

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10
May

Help Restore DC Recycling Funds!

Wed May 10, 2017 at 05:20:44 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Budget Focus: Help Restore Recycling Funds to DPW!

DC Environmental Network:

In just one week, the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a budget mark-up for the Department of Public Works.

The DC Environmental Network’s primary goal at this mark-up is to restore $447,000 in funds slashed from District recycling programs by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. These recycling cuts include the elimination of two DPW Office of Waste Diversion staff positions and additional monies for moving important recycling programs forward.

There is quite a bit at stake at this mark-up. Here’s why:

Since 2014, under two administrations, Councilmember Cheh has been engaged in a reorganization of the District’s waste management priorities. When it comes to recycling, the District of Columbia has long been a regional underachiever with waste diversion (recycling) rates holding steady around 25% (if that) even as surrounding jurisdictions record diversion rates closer to 60%. Not a good place for our nation’s capital city!

In 2014 Councilmember Cheh introduced the “Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014” designed to modify how the District develops its solid waste priorities and update how the District manages its solid waste system. Important to recycling, this law created the Office of Waste Diversion. This is an office that should be focusing a lot of attention on the idea of sustainable waste diversion, and how DC might someday have a respectable recycling rate.

On July 14, 2014, this law, was unanimously passed by the entire DC Council and signed soon after by former Mayor Vincent Gray. Supporters included Councilmember’s Cheh, McDuffie, Alexander, Bonds, Catania, Evans, Grosso, Orange, Wells, Barry, Chairman Mendelson, and even Mayor Muriel Bowser, the last year of her time as a Councilmember.

Which makes it all that much more surprising that for the last two budget cycles, Mayor Bowser has chosen to weaken DPW’s Office of Waste Diversion by not filling important positions and undermining the office’s ability to make meaningful progress in overhauling our failed recycling programs.

What does the Office of Waste Diversion need these resources for?

The good news is that despite the lack of commitment to recycling by the Executive, as reflected by budget priorities, for the first time in decades, DPW has a Director that believes in it. DPW Director Shorter has started to put in place a good team at the Office of Waste Diversion, and the agency is doing a decent job of taking care of their statutory requirements. DCEN believes that transparency, and the quality of implementation of existing programs, has improved the last two years. But that is not enough!

DCEN believes that what is on the table now is not enough to make the necessary changes that will result in meaningful improvements to recycling in the District.

The Office of Waste Diversion needs more staff to start doing the research and planning necessary to move the District towards being a zero-waste city.

That’s why we are asking the Council to restore funding for two Office of Waste Diversion staffers, as well as restoring nonpersonel funds that could be used for research and planning.

To help Mayor Bowser make progress before her first term is up, we are also asking that some of the nonpersonel funds be used to put a Request for Proposals (RFP) out to plan and implement a Save As You Throw pilot. Save As You Throw is a usage pricing model for disposing of municipal solid waste, that could help District ratepayers save money, reduce green-house gas emissions, and increase DC per capita recycling rates.

[Restoring recycling funds will help the District do the planning necessary to see if Save as You Throw (or PAYT as shown in graphic) can help improve the District’s recycling rate. Graphic by: WasteZero, April 2017]

 

This would be a meaningful step towards researching what recycling improvement options are available to the District. We believe a Save As You Throw pilot could help us do a better job of planning our zero-waste future.

What can we all do to help restore funds for recycling?

To start, please consider signing the petition that zero waste advocates will be delivering to the DC Council next week. If you are interested in doing more, contact me at 202-380-3440 or email cweiss@globalgreen.org.

We need to get this done in the next seven days!

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network 

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7
May

The District’s Unsustainable Budget!

Sun May 07, 2017 at 05:09:24 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

DC Environmental Network:

We have an unsustainable budget and need your help!

As many of you know we are right in the middle of the District’s budget season. Mayor Muriel Bowser has sent her budget to the DC Council, the DC Council has already held most of their budget hearings, and now a mad scurry has begun to try and quickly decide what the Council’s budget priorities are and what changes need to be made. In just ten days the eleven different Council committee’s will begin marking up their share of the overall budget, and soon after that, the full Council will vote twice on the entire budget.

The DC Environmental Network (DCEN) has tried to give you opportunities to learn about the piece of the budget pie you care about the most. DCEN and the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, held two special budget briefings, one with the Department of Public Works, and the other with the Department of Energy and the Environment. Around 20 different environmental organizations, and a number of individual advocates participated.

The DC Environmental Network testified at two Council budget hearings and shared our initial thoughts, based on the information we had so far, on how the District should spend our shared tax dollars. Here is the testimony:

District Department of Public Works, April 26, 2017

District Department of Energy and Environment, April 28, 2017

DCEN has received over 150 phone calls and emails, from other District environmental organizations and advocates, asking how federal spending might impact our local programs. We have done the best we can to give folks our perspective, although the lack of transparency, by much of the Legislative and Executive Branch, makes us have to work far harder than we should to get the most basic information. (The budget documents are often cryptic and we have been told, contain a healthy number of typos.)

Regardless we have identified a number of budget priorities we want to point out and hope the environmental community will, over the next ten days, engage the Council and let them know we care. DCEN has already been walking the halls of the Council’s Wilson Building, asking questions, and advocating for our sustainability goals. Our main concerns include:

– Restoring DC Recycling Programs: Mayor Bowser eliminated two full time jobs and other funds from DPW’s Office of Waste Diversion (OWD). OWD is the office that is primarily in charge of recycling programs and is focused on trying to move the District away from being the worst recycler in the region. We are requesting that the DC Council restore funding for the two Office of Waste Diversion staff (FTE’s) as well as all the nonpersonel funds that were slashed from their budget. We are also requesting that the DC Council direct DPW to use some of the restored non-personal funds to plan and implement a Save As You Throw (SAYT) pilot in 2018.

– Restoring $3 Million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Funds: Every year the District and federal government make LIHEAP money available to help low income District residents who cannot pay their energy bills. This program is administered by DOEE. DCEN has been told that in order for the District to minimally duplicate the last fiscal years help, the Council will have to find an additional $3 million dollars. DCEN is particularly concerned about these funds this year because the poverty focused non-profits that normally engage in advocacy on LIHEAP currently have too many other budget shortfalls to deal with. DCEN is going to try and do what we can to restore these funds.  Currently it does not look good, and the District may end up telling District residents, at a time of critical need, that there are no more funds.

– Restoring $5 Million in Capital Funds for Anacostia River Clean-Up: Mayor Bowser removed $5 million capital budget dollars that were targeted for hazardous material remediation of the Anacostia River bottom sediments and the contaminated land areas adjacent (particularly to Ward 8’s Poplar Point and Ward 7’s Kenilworth North). With upcoming clean-up requirements looming, the timing of this reduction could not be worse. Additionally, this cut may create budget pressures on other important DOEE programs as the District scrambles to fulfill its statutory requirements. The DC Environmental Network primarily recommends that the Council try and restore the $5 million capital budget dollars. We also support the efforts of other organizations to, ideally, recommend finding additional capital dollars, possibly as much as $10 million, to continue progress on all remediation projects.

As you can see we have our work cut out for us. Luckily, we are coordinating with a number of DC focused organizations in trying to impact all of these budget items. We could also use some help from you!

DCEN is going to be down at the Wilson Building every day prior to the committee mark-ups. If you want to help us at scheduled meetings and office visits, give us a call at 202-754-7088 or email cweiss@globalgreen.org. Hope you can join us.

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network 

 

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18
Apr

DC Mayor Slashes Funding for Recycling Programs!

Tue Apr 18, 2017 at 11:36:48 AM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

April 17, 2017

DC Environmental Network:

Last Wednesday, the DC Environmental Network (DCEN), DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI), and District Department of Public Works (DPW), convened a budget briefing to go over the budget priorities of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. This briefing focused on the proposed FY 2018 budget for DPW.

We received some bad news about Mayor Bowser’s DPW budget priorities.

The, kind-of, good news:

Since Mayor Bowser appointed Chris Shorter to be Director of DPW in 2015, the District’s zero-waste community has been excited at the prospect of DPW implementing the programs and policy changes necessary to move the District closer to its stated goal of achieving a total waste diversion rate (recycling, composting, and conversion) of 80% by 2032.

In the last two years, DPW has made progress increasing agency transparency, and, for the first time in decades, doing a better job of managing current, but generally ineffective, recycling programs. (Programs that continue to make the District the worst, or close to the worst recycler in the region.)

These improvements in DPW’s focus can to some degree be attributed to Council action, during former Mayor Gray’s administration, to create the DPW Office of Waste Diversion, an important infrastructure improvement to keeping some of the agency focus on improving recycling.

Arguably we have a better run agency then we did in 2015 but we also have a lot of work to do to change a broken, damaged recycling system!

The bad news:

At last week’s budget briefing DCEN learned that Mayor Bowser’s budget eliminated, for the second time in two years, 2 (of 6) important staff positions from the Office of Waste Diversion, and reduced the Office’s budget by $447,000.

We think these cuts are unacceptable, reflect a lack of vision, and don’t adequately support the goal of increased recycling.

These budget cuts mean that this administration is not yet serious about its Sustainable DC zero waste goals including
introducing a Pay-As-You-Throw pricing structure for waste collection services; and, by 2032, achieve a total waste diversion rate (recycling, composting, and conversion) of 80%.

This DPW budget will create an office with inadequate staff and resources to do little more than comply with reporting requirements and other paperwork.

This DPW budget means that the District of Columbia, our nation’s capital city, will continue to have some of the worst recycling rates in the region and will try and squeeze more recycling from a system that has already failed us for over 2.5 decades.

This DPW budget does nothing to move the District towards a new solid waste management system that could help District ratepayers save money, reduce green-house gas emissions, and increase DC per capita recycling rates.

Our plan to support a zero-waste DC:

The DC Environmental Network is committed to advocating for, as we did successfully last year, restoration of both Office of Waste Diversion staff positions, and, restore at least some funding for the planning and program development necessary to help DC government make progress towards achieving its own Sustainable DC zero-waste goals.

If we do this, and we can, we will continue the progress made the last two years.

Let me know if you want to join our campaign to fix this.

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

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Budget Documents:

Proposed DPW Budget

DPW Budget Briefing Documents

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7
Apr

DCEN, DCFPI, DOEE Budget Briefing in 2017

Fri Apr 07, 2017 at 05:50:31 PM EST

by Patsy Droege, DC Environmental Network

This is the second of two DCEN/DCFPI DC agency briefings!

On April 21st at 12:00 PM, you are invited to join the DC Environmental Network (DCEN), DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI), and DC Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), for a special briefing on Mayor Bowser’s proposed FY 2018 Budget.

This event will be held at the offices of DOEE, 1200 Fist Street NE, 5th Floor. Click here if you want to attend the DOEE FY 2018 budget briefing!

Background:

Mayor Bowser released her proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget on April 4th. At this April 21st briefing, DOEE Director Tommy Wells, and staff, will present the details of Mayor Bowser’s budget as it relates to the Department of Energy & Environment. Participants will be able to ask questions and share their thoughts about the Executive’s budget priorities for this agency.

The next few years could be very challenging as the new President and Congress establish their own budget priorities. Federal cuts to important District programs could create budgetary pressures that hurt every District agency and threaten important programs and initiatives that fund human needs and are important to the sustainability community.

(About 23% of DOEE’s proposed FY 2018 budget is comprised of Federal Grant funds. It may be important to start to think about what the District may have to do if they lose these resources in FY 2019.)

It will be critical for all of us to understand our current budget and how it might change as we move forward. Hope to see you on the 21st.

Click here if you want to be briefed on the Department of Energy & Environment FY 2018 budget!

Here are some resources to help you prepare for the briefing:

Proposed FY 2018 Budget for the Department of Energy & Environment
Mayor Bowser’s FY 2018 Proposed Budget Documents

DOEE Mission:

“DOEE’s mission is to improve the quality of life for the residents and natural inhabitants of the nation’s capital by protecting and restoring the environment, conserving our natural resources, mitigating pollution, increasing access to clean and renewable energy, and educating the public on ways to secure a sustainable future. The agency’s core responsibilities include, but are not limited to, enforcing environmental regulations; monitoring and assessing environmental risks; developing energy and environmental policies; issuing permits; and providing residents and local businesses with funding, technical assistance, and information on initiatives designed to ensure a more resilient and sustainable city.” – About DOEE.

DOEE Vision:

“DOEE envisions a nation’s capital that sets the standard for environmentally responsible and sustainable practices. We envision a city whose rivers and waters are fishable and swimmable; whose buildings and infrastructure help protect our health and environment; and whose residents, businesses, and visitors embrace and employ smart environmental practices in their daily lives and work together to deliver a clean, healthy, and vibrant city to future generations” – About DOEE.

All are welcome.

 

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3
Apr

DCEN, DCFPI, DPW Budget Briefing 2017

Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 12:42:26 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

 

On April 12th at 2:00 PM, you are invited to join the DC Environmental Network (DCEN), DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI), and DC Department of Public Works (DPW), for a special briefing on Mayor Bowser’s proposed FY2018 Budget. This event will be held at the offices of DPW, 2000 14th Street NW, 6th Floor.

Background:

Mayor Bowser is scheduled to release her “proposed” budget sometime around April 4th. At this April 12th briefing, DPW Director Chris Shorter and staff, will present the details of Mayor Bowser’s budget as it relates to the Department of Public Works. Participants will be able to ask questions and share their thoughts about the Executive’s budget priorities for this agency.

Although we will hear about the full DPW budget, the DC Environmental Network is particularly interested in the DPW programs that focus on zero waste issues.

The next few years could be very challenging as the new President and Congress establish their own budget priorities. Federal cuts to important District programs could create budgetary pressures that hurt every District agency and threaten important initiatives that fund basic human needs and are important to the sustainability community.It will be critical for all of us to understand our current budget and how it might change as we move forward. Hope to see you on the 12th.

Click here if you want to be briefed on the Department of Public Works FY2018 budget!

All are welcome.

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10
Feb

Believe in DC Self-Governance? Much Work to Do!

Fri Feb 10, 2017 at 02:49:07 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Congressman Jason Chaffetz wants to hurt us! What we can do in the next 36 hours!

The DC Environmental Network (DCEN) believes we all need to pull together and work to protect the fragile precedent of self-governance we have worked so hard to create and sustain in the District of Columbia. We oppose Congressman Jason Chaffetz’s efforts to prevent the District’s Death with Dignity Act from becoming a law. DCist tells part of the story here. If we don’t make it hard for Chaffetz now we may have to revisit this challenge every time meaningful policy changes, including those most important to the environmental movement, go through Congress.

We are cutting it close but wanted to pass on to you two things you can do to fight Congressman Chaffetz’s efforts over the next 2-3 days:

1. On Monday, February 13th, Participate in Councilmember Allen’s Hands Off DC Rally and Organizing Meeting!

Join the rally on Monday, February 13 to tell Rep. Chaffetz and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to keep their #HandsOffDC as they vote to override the will of D.C. residents! Let them know you’re coming here.

They will gather at 5 p.m. at Lower D Park [Spirit of Justice Park on Google Maps] near South Capitol Street and C Street, SW, and then continue on to the #HandsOffDC organizing meeting at the Atlas Performing Arts Center at 1333 H Street NE at 6:30 p.m.

2. Read Councilmember Cheh’s Letter and Target for Communication, Republicans from States with Death with Dignity Laws!

A Letter from Councilmember Cheh:

Call to Action: Congress is Attempting to Nullify the District’s Death with Dignity Act

Members of Congress are quickly moving to pass a measure to prevent the District of Columbia’s Death with Dignity Act from becoming law. This effort is led by Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who represents Utah’s 3rd Congressional District. Overturning this bill and superseding a local decision without so much as holding a public hearing, contacting the District’s elected leaders, or speaking to our residents raises the concern that the door will be open to future challenges to our right to local, self-governance.

We must defend our autonomy and find creative ways to express dissent against Congressional overreach. Already we understand Chaffetz’s office recently changed his office’s phone line after a barrage of calls by residents expressing displeasure with his meddling in local affairs. In addition to our local efforts, District residents can engage their own network of family and friends across the country to speak up on our behalf and demand that Congress leave the District alone.

Below is a link for the contact information of Republican Congressmen from states with death with dignity laws. Of anyone in the House, perhaps they will be most sympathetic to our situation. Please share this list with your network, forward this email, and ask others to contact Congress. Perhaps Congressional Representatives will not listen to District residents; but, it will be difficult to ignore the phone calls, Tweets (#HandsOffDC), mail, and office visits of their own constituents on our behalf.

Mary Cheh

Contact Information:

Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Twitter: @jasoninthehouse
Email link: https://chaffetz.house.gov/contact/
Phone: (202) 225-7751 extension option 3 or 4
Washington, D.C. Office:
2236 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Republican Members of the House from Death with Dignity States

Oregon:
Greg Walden
Twitter: @repgregwalden
Email link: https://walden.house.gov/contact-greg/email-me
Phone: (202) 225-6730
Washington, D.C. Office:
2185 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Washington:
Jamie Herrera Butler
Twitter: @HerreraBeutler
Email link: http://herrerabeutler.house.gov/contact/
Phone: (202) 225-3536
Washington, D.C. Office:
1107 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dan Newhouse
Twitter: @RepNewhouse
Email link: https://newhouse.house.gov/contact
Phone: (202) 225-5816
Washington, D.C. Office:
1318 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Twitter: @cathymcmorris
Email link: https://mcmorris.house.gov/contact/
Phone: (202) 225-2006
Washington, D.C. Office:
1314 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dave Reichert
Twitter: @davereichert
Email link: https://reichert.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Phone: (202) 225-7761
Washington, D.C. Office:
1127 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Montana:
Ryan Zinke
Twitter: @RepRyanZinke
Email link: https://zinke.house.gov/contact
Phone: (202) 225-3211
Washington, D.C. Office:
1419 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

California:
Doug LaMalfa
Twitter: @RepLaMalfa
Email link: https://lamalfa.house.gov/contact/email-me
Phone: (202) 225-3076
Washington, D.C. Office:
322 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Tom McClintock
Twitter: @RepMcClintock
Email link: https://mcclintock.house.gov/contact/email-me
Phone: (202) 225-2511
Washington, D.C. Office:
2312 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Col. Paul Cook
Twitter: @RepPaulCook
Email link: http://cookforms.house.gov/contact/
Phone: (202) 225-5861
Washington, D.C. Office:
1222 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Jeff Denham
Twitter: @RepJeffDenham
Email link: https://denham.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Phone: (202) 225-4540
Washington, D.C. Office:
1730 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

David G. Valadao
Twitter: @RepDavidValadao
Email link: http://valadao.house.gov/contact/
Phone: (202) 225-4695
Washington, D.C. Office:
1728 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Devin Nunes
Twitter: @Rep_DevinNunes
Email link: https://nunes.house.gov/contactform/
Phone: (202) 225-2523
Washington, D.C. Office:
1013 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Kevin McCarthy
Twitter: @GOPLeader
Email link: https://kevinmccarthy.house.gov/contact/email-me
Phone: (202) 225-2915
Washington, D.C. Office:
2421 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Steve Knight
Twitter: @RepresentativeSteveKnight
Email link: http://knight.house.gov/contact/email/
Phone: (202) 225-1956
Washington, D.C. Office:
1023 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Ed Royce
Twitter: @RepEdRoyce
Email link: http://royce.house.gov/contact/zipcheck.htm
Phone: (202) 225-4111
Washington, D.C. Office:
2310 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Ken Calvert
Twitter: @KenCalvert
Email link: http://calvert.house.gov/contact/
Phone: (202) 225-1986
Washington, D.C. Office:
2205 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Mimi Walters
Twitter: @RepMimiWalters
Email link: https://walters.house.gov/contact/email
Phone: (202) 225-5611
Washington, D.C. Office:
215 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dana Rohrabacher
Twitter: @DanaRohrabacher
Email link: https://rohrabacher.house.gov/contact/email-me
Phone: (202) 225-2415
Washington, D.C. Office:
2300 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Duncan Hunter
Twitter: @Rep_Hunter
Email link: https://hunter.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Phone: (202) 225-5672
Washington, D.C. Office:
2429 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Colorado:
Scott Tipton
Twitter: @RepTipton
Email link: https://tipton.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Phone: (202) 225-4761
Washington, D.C. Office:
218 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Ken Buck
Twitter: @RepKenBuck
Email link: https://buck.house.gov/contact/email
Phone: (202) 225-4676
Washington, D.C. Office:
1130 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Doug Lamborn (co-sponsor on the House disapproval resolution)
Twitter: @RepDLamborn
Email link: http://lamborn.house.gov/contact/
Phone: (202) 225-4422
Washington, D.C. Office:
2402 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Mike Coffman
Twitter: @RepMikeCoffman
Email link: https://coffmanforms.house.gov/contact/
Phone: (202) 225-7882
Washington, D.C. Office:
2443 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Thank you so much!

DCEN

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8
Feb

Climate, Energy, Utilities & Councilmember McDuffie

Wed Feb 08, 2017 at 02:01:16 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, Global Green USA

Join DCEN for a special meeting with Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie to prepare for the upcoming DC Council Performance Oversight hearings. This meeting will focus on the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) and the DC Office of People’s Counsel (OPC).


The DC Environmental Network (DCEN) invites you to join DC Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Chair of the DC Council Committee on
Business and Economic Development, in a special DCEN meeting in preparation for the upcoming performance oversight and budget hearings.

This meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 16th at NOON. It will be held at the offices of Friends of the Earth and Green Cross International, 1101 15th Street NW, 11th Floor. You must sign-up here to attend this special DCEN meeting.

Although Councilmember McDuffie’s committee has several agencies under its purview, our meeting will be primarily focused on the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) and the DC Office of People’s Counsel (OPC). These agencies play an important role in the work many of us engage in that is connected to energy and climate issues.

Meeting participants will have the opportunity to share ideas and opinions about the PSC and OPC in preparation for the DC Council Committee on Business & Economic Development Performance Oversight hearing scheduled for February 22nd, at 10:00 AM, at the Council of the District of Columbia, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room 500. Click here for more information!

You must RSVP here to attend the DCEN meeting.

All are welcome.

PSC & OPC Background:

Mission Statement of the District of Columbia Public Service Commission (PSC):

The mission of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia is to serve the public interest by ensuring that financially healthy electric, natural gas and telecommunications companies provide safe, reliable and quality utility services at reasonable rates for District of Columbia residential, business and government customers.

We do this by:

– Motivating customer– and results–oriented employees;
– Protecting consumers to ensure public safety, reliability, and quality services;
– Regulating monopoly services to ensure their rates are just and reasonable;
– Fostering fair and open competition among service providers;
– Conserving natural resources and preserving environmental quality;
– Resolving disputes among consumers and service providers; and
– Educating consumers and informing the public.”

Mission Statement of the District of Columbia Office of the People’s Counsel (OPC):

“The Office of the People’s Counsel is an independent agency of the District of Columbia government. By law, the Office advocates for consumers of natural gas, electric, and telephone services. The Office also represents the interests of District utility ratepayers before the DC Public Service Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Federal Communications Commission, other utility regulatory bodies, and the courts. The office is mandated to conduct consumer education and outreach, and may represent individual consumers with complaints related to their utility service and bills.

Through this mission, the Office of the People’s Counsel is preparing for a brighter utility tomorrow for the benefit of consumers in all eight wards, as well as the betterment of the economy of the District of Columbia, the conservation of natural resources, and the preservation of environmental quality.”

Hope to see you on the 16th!

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25
Jan

Join DC’s Don’t Govern With Hands Tied Campaign!

Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 01:16:20 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Join the DC Environmental Network for this special opportunity to start working with the broader sustainability community to achieve our shared vision for the District of Columbia!

[Picture from Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington. Let’s start turning our words into action and support improving and maintaining the District’s health and wellbeing.]

“DC residents voted in large numbers in the 2016 election, a testament to their desire to make their priorities heard loud and clear. They are proud that the District can be a beacon of hope in dark times. And, they will look at the District’s proposed FY2018 budget to see if it reflects these values. We urge Mayor Bowser and the DC Council to ensure they have the full financial flexibility to answer this call.”

– Taken from Untie DC Hands Statement, January 2017

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DC Environmental Network:

I want to share an opportunity to participate in an important campaign, spearheaded by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, and with partners including the Children’s Law Center, DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, Fair Budget Coalition, Jews United for Justice, Legal Aid Society of DC, Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, Miriam’s Kitchen, Washington Interfaith Network, DC Environmental Network, and others.

The fundamental purpose of this campaign is to convince decision makers to “pause restrictive fiscal policies limiting DC’s response to important needs.”

This is necessary because it is becoming apparent that the District faces many fiscal challenges including a “spiraling affordable housing and homelessness crisis,” a “growing population” that makes a “strong public transit system even more important.”

We will need fiscal flexibility to meet these challenges and others that come our way.

It is also necessary, as the new Congress and President Trump have threatened to cut federal funding for our nation’s critical safety net, including Medicaid, SNAP, and other programs that are important to the health and wellbeing of District residents.

We will need fiscal flexibility to maintain and protect these basic human needs.

Reading the newspaper, the last 48 hours, it’s easy to imagine this list could grow larger and very much impact funding for protection of children from lead poisoning, helping communities adapt to climate change, and other federal programs important to the environmental health and human service community.

We will need fiscal flexibility to protect the health of our children and to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

This sensible proposal, which the DC Environmental Network fully supports, includes spending DC’s budget surplus from FY2016; putting automatic tax cuts on hold for 2018; and creating a budget cushion to deal with looming federal cuts.

Supporting this initiative is an important way we can all join together and prepare ourselves for the coming year and beyond. Already it is clear that many in Congress are getting in line to meddle in District affairs to make political points.

One way we can fight back and get through the next four years, is to open our minds and hearts to a new way of achieving our sustainability goals. That means getting out of our silos and striving to find ways of helping any program or initiative that creates better wellbeing for everyone in our favorite city, the District of Columbia. The idea is more working together.

I ask that you consider joining the DC Environmental Network in supporting this campaign statement, and if possible, put some of your time and resources into helping us convince our home town decision makers that now is the time to take off some of our restrictive fiscal restraints as we prepare for a very uncertain future.

I am hoping you will consider signing our statement and joining this critical and timely campaign.

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

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Background materials:

DC Leaders: Don’t Govern with Your Hands Tied StatementPlease send scanned form, and direct any questions to: Simone Holzer, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, sholzer@dcfpi.org

DC Leaders: Don’t Govern with Your Hands Tied FAQ

DCEN will be holding an informal conference call to discuss this campaign on Thursday, January 26th @ 4:00 PM. If you are interested in participating, send an email to: cweiss@globalgreen.org

 

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17
Jan

DCEN ANNOUNCEMENTS: January 17, 2017

Tue Jan 17, 2017 at 02:14:22 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Save As You Throw Sign-On Letter!

The Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Socieity, Building Materials Reuse Association, Clean Water Action, Earthjustice, Energy Justice Network, Global Green USA, Green Cross International, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Potomac Riverkeeper Network, Rock Creek Conservancy, Sierra, DC Chapter, and Wentworth Green Strategies signed on to a DCEN coalition letter asking the Department of Public Works to go forward with a Save As You Throw pilot.

[Because of a request from one organization we will send an update with additional signatures sometime next week.]

Click here to read the letter.  You can learn more about Save As You Throw here!

Join the DC Consumer Utility Board Grid 2.0 Working Group Meeting!

The DC Consumer Utility Board’s GRID2.0 Working Group meets to discuss and prepare the civil society response to the PSC’s Formal Case No. 1130, Modernizing the Energy Delivery System for Increased Sustainability (MEDSIS).  The PSC established MEDSIS to identify technologies and policies that can be implemented to modernize DC’s distribution energy delivery system . The stated goal of MEDSIS is to increase sustainability for District consumers, and in the near-term, make the distribution energy delivery system more reliable, efficient, cost effective, and interactive.

The next meeting will be February 6th @ 5:30 PM. It will be held at the offices of the DC Environmental Network, 322 4th Street NE.

All are welcome!

 

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16
Jan

Support DC Climate Leadership in 2017!

Mon Jan 16, 2017 at 02:26:02 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

[The John A. Wilson Building, the NEW center of climate action in the District of Columbia!]

The District’s response to Donald Trump. Maximizing District of Columbia climate leadership in 2017 and beyond.

January 16, 2017

DC Environmental Network:

It’s happening this week. No, I am not talking about the peaceful transition of power in the United States, but the continuation and acceleration of our efforts to make sure OUR city and planet do what is necessary to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for the most certain, and dangerous, impacts of climate change.

This week, and for the rest of the year and beyond, the DC Environmental Network (DCEN), and thousands of District residents and activists, will be engaged in education and advocacy, to push local efforts to new heights of accomplishment, introducing new tools to reduce carbon emissions, and expanding the number of District residents engaged in the global effort to protect our planet from climate change.

The goal is more meaningful actions by District residents, government, and organizations, to fight climate change, and maximize District climate leadership in 2017 and beyond. We have a city that already has the people to do the work, and can set a wonderful example to the rest of the region, country, and world. Let’s start getting together more often to make this happen.

Some upcoming DC Environmental Network activities to start some new momentum:


  • January 18th @ NOON @ Offices of Green Cross International/Friends of the Earth:
     Briefing on Mayor Bowser’s Trip to the C40 Summit in Mexico City – Join the DC Environmental Network for a special climate briefing on Mayor Muriel Bowser’s recent trip to Mexico City to participate in the C40 Mayors Climate Summit. This briefing will include comments from Tommy Wells, Director of the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), Mayor Bowser (Invited), and other individuals who were part of the District of Columbia’s summit delegation. We need your participation so we can show Mayor Bowser that her efforts, to become a climate action leader, are important to us. Find additional information and RSVP here if you want to participate in this conversation.
  • February 16th @ NOON @ Offices of Green Cross International/Friends of the Earth: Briefing on NEW Carbon Rebate Campaign – DCEN has been thinking about pricing carbon pollution in the District since 2002. Now, several organizations and activists have put a proposal together that will not only put less carbon into the atmosphere, but with a rebate, put more money into the pockets of DC families who need it the most. Come learn about this new proposal and be ready to take real and meaningful action. Keep a look out for our announcement and link to RSVP.
  • February Briefing w/Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie – We will also be scheduling a discussion in February, with DC Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, to talk about his oversight of the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) and other offices and agencies important to the growth of renewables and the reduction of carbon emissions.

Now, more than ever, the District of Columbia has the responsibility, as the seat of federal power, to help lead the charge and use our local actions and policies to set an example that our President and Congress cannot ignore.

We need your help to get their attention. Join us as we use local action as a response to climate denial. Passing laws and policies that do the right thing might just get their attention and create the leverage we need to win.

Hope to see you and hear your voice sometime soon.

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

 

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13
Jan

DC Solid Waste Diversion Report – FY15-16

Fri Jan 13, 2017 at 02:27:11 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

District Releases Solid Waste Diversion Progress Report – FY15 & 16

DPW Press Release, January 10, 2017:

“The first of its kind, the District’s solid waste diversion report reflects increased transparency and reflects movement by the District towards creating a more defensible citywide residential diversion rate and corresponding per capita waste generation baseline,” Chris Weiss, executive director of the DC Environmental Network, said in a statement.

Collecting and understanding this data is critical to the development of new policies and programs that will help make the District a true zero-waste city,” said Weiss. “Mayor Bowser and DPW Director Shorter should be commended for their stakeholder engagement and willingness to do what is necessary to move the District’s waste management system into the 21st century.”

Click Here to See Report!

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10
Jan

Mayor Bowser’s Trip to Mexico City C40 Summit!

Tue Jan 10, 2017 at 03:01:05 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

All sustainability organizations and advocates are invited to DCEN’s monthly networking opportunity. This will be the first of two climate focused briefings in January/February.

On January 18th at NOON, join the DC Environmental Network for a special climate briefing on Mayor Muriel Bowser’s recent trip to Mexico City to participate in the C40 Mayors Climate Summit. This briefing will include comments from Tommy Wells, Director of the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), and other individuals who were part of the District of Columbia’s summit delegation.

At the summit, Mayor Bowser joined more than 60 mayors and deputy mayors from all over the world, as well as hundreds of urban and sustainability leaders, who are committed to taking meaningful action on climate change. From the District’s press release:
“Speakers at the C40 Mayors Summit include nearly 40 mayors from the world’s largest and most influential cities; business leaders of Fortune 500 companies; elected officials at all levels of government; prominent non-governmental organization (NGO) leaders; internationally-renowned climate experts; and celebrity activists.                                                        ‘

[Mayor Bowser, 3rd from right, taking the stage with other global climate focused Mayors!]

“This summit signifies DC’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and to securing a future for our city in the face of climate change,” said Mayor Bowser. “Under our Sustainable DC plan, the District is investing in green infrastructure and spurring economic growth. We are also implementing more sustainable improvements in living standards for our citizens by planning a dense, connected city that is prepared to withstand climate impacts. Our participation in the Summit is an opportunity to both strengthen ties abroad as well as ensure the continued resilience and vitality of the District in light of climate threats.”
DCEN greatly appreciates Mayor Bowser’s commitment to being a global climate leader and believe District agencies are working hard to protect District residents from climate change impacts. The fact that the Mayor took the time to participate in the C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City is something we can and should be proud of. We are excited to offer the opportunity to get briefed on what occurred in Mexico City to DCEN participants. Our panelists, who also attended the C40 Mayors Summit, include:
Tommy Wells, Director, Department of Energy and Environment
Bill Updike, Chief, Green Building and Climate Branch, Department of Energy and Environment
Brendan Shane, Regional Director for North America, C40 Climate Leadership Group
Mayor Muriel Bowser (Invited)
Some background information:

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