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23
Jan

Yes to Renewable Energy, No to Nuclear Power!

Fri Jan 23, 2015 at 06:28:50 AM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

All Metro-Washington Environmental Organizations, Activists and others are Invited to Our Monthly Networking Opportunity!

Energiewende No Background

Exelon Corporation wants to build and grow the District of Columbia’s energy future with its dangerous and costly nuclear power plants and have District residents pay for it. Come learn about an alternative to Exelon’s vision, the German Energiewende, that includes more renewables, such as wind and solar, and the visionary and pragmatic commitment to close all German nuclear power plants by 2022.

What kind of energy future do we want in the District?

The District of Columbia’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is poised to make a very important decision about the future of energy in the District of Columbia. The PSC is going to decide if Exelon Corporation, with its 24 nuclear power plants and aggressive advocacy, at the local and national level, against renewable energy, is going to take control of Pepco.

On February 5th at Noon, join the DC Environmental Network and Green Cross International for a very inspiring and enlightening alternative vision and presentation that will showcase Germany’s Energiewende or “energy transition” that is transforming the country by implementing an aggressive plan to generate 80% of its electricity from renewable sources by mid-century and moving Germany towards the closing of ALL its nuclear power plants by 2022.

Come learn about an alternative clean energy vision that makes economic sense.

Our panel will include:

Bastian Hermisson, Executive Director, Heinrich Böll Foundation’s North America Office (bio)
Paul Walker, Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Green Cross International (bio)
Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network (Moderator)

Come join this important discussion and learn about the successes and challenges the German Energiewende has experienced since 2011. More importantly, be inspired by the possibilities this example brings to the District of Columbia and surrounding region.

RSVP here to participate and learn.

All are welcome.

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16
Jan

We ALL Need to Help Stop the Exelon/Pepco Merger!

Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 06:07:59 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DC Council Chairman Mendelson: Say NO to Exelon!

Via Email, January 16, 2015

ATTN: Phil Mendelson, Chairman
District of Columbia Council
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004

RE: We ALL Need to HELP STOP the Exelon/Pepco Merger!

Dear Chairman Mendelson:

A few months ago, at a meeting on the fossil fuel divestiture bill that you introduced, I shared with you how I believe the acquisition by Exelon of Pepco is a threat to District efforts to become a renewable energy leader, combat climate change, and bring the promise of clean, affordable energy to all District residents.

We are pleased that Councilmember Mary Cheh, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, has recently announced a Public Oversight Roundtable on the potential environmental effects of Exelon’s proposed acquisition of Pepco.

However, the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) believes that this hearing is only one of many steps the Council and its individual members should take in response to this threat. DCEN believes the stakes are so high, that you, and hopefully your colleagues on the Council, will take an active role in expressing opposition to this mis-guided merger.

What happens if the merger is approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC)?

- The Pepco-Exelon Merger Would Hurt the District’s Poor & Middle Class Residents!
– The Pepco-Exelon Merger Would Hurt the District’s Progress and Targets for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency!
– The Pepco-Exelon Merger Would Dramatically Decrease Local Control of Our Electricity!

Learn more here!

Chicago to DC A2 FINAL b5

The DC Environmental Network (DCEN), DC Fiscal Policy Institute, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, DC Chapter of Sierra Club, DC Climate Action, DC Consumer Utility Board (DC CUB), DC Divest, DC For Democracy, DC Jobs with Justice, DC Tenants’ Advocacy Coalition (TENAC), DC Working Families, Empower DC, Energy Justice Network, Grid 2.0 Working Group, Interfaith Power and Light and many others are working hard to oppose this merger.

We need you to join us! Not doing so puts your work and support on behalf of renewables and affordable energy for all District residents at risk.

The DC Environmental Network strongly urges you to:

- Testify or submit testimony to the Public Service Commission (PSC) in opposition to the Exelon/Pepco merger. The last PSC public hearing is on January 20th at 6:00 PM at the University of the District of Columbia Community College Conference Room (801 North Capitol Street, NE). SEE PowerDC website for more information!

– On January 23rd at 11:00 AM, participate in the Committee on Transportation and the Environment Oversight Roundtable on the Potential Environmental Effects of Exelon’s Proposed Acquisition of Pepco.

This is a big deal and the Council should not sit on the sidelines without taking a bold stand. It’s that important.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

—————————————————————–

NOTE TO THE DC ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK: LAST CHANCE FOR YOU TO TESTIFY TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION!

Momentum is building against the proposed Exelon-Pepco merger right when we need it most. On Monday night, DC residents and business leaders turned out to set the record straight on why the merger would be a bad deal for the District. On Tuesday, more than 100 Maryland residents appeared at a Montgomery County hearing, demonstrating overwhelming opposition to the plan.

No Pepco Exelon Merger! FINALBut it’s not over yet, and the battle is far from won. The final Public Service Commission (PSC) hearing on the plan is on Tuesday, Jan. 20th at 6pm, and we need a huge turnout to send them a signal.

Click here to register to testify against the merger.

At the last hearing, citizens of the District made a clear case for rejecting Exelon’s aggressive advances. If Exelon wins, residents will be left to pick up the tab for the company’s expensive nuclear power and the astronomical decommissioning costs associated with reactors. And Exelon’s track record clearly shows they are willing to play dirty—by crippling local solar and wind power—to maximize their own profits.

The risks are simply too great. We can’t afford to gamble with DC’s reputation as a leader in renewable energy, and we can’t risk shipping control of our energy—and the jobs that go with that—halfway across the country.

Let’s keep the momentum strong. Please join us along with Power DC on Tuesday, Jan. 20th at 6pm and tell the PSC that they need to serve residents’ interests, not corporate interests.

If you can’t attend in person, you can still make your voice heard by submitting testimony online here. Together we can keep our rates low and our energy grid on a sustainable path forward.

Thanks so much!

 

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15
Jan

First DCEN Networking Event in 2015 was a Success!

Thu Jan 15, 2015 at 11:49:58 AM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

What Happens When You Put 100+ Greenies in the Same, Small Room? Quite a bit happens!

We had a great networking event last week that included:

- 112 participants representing many different institutions and organizations.
– District Department of the Environment (DDOE) Acting-Director, Tommy Wells, gave a brief overview of his approach to leading this important agency. SEE VIDEO!
– During introductions we went around the room and EVERYONE shared what their priority issues were for 2015. It was an impressive display of the interests of the local sustainability community.
– We presented DC Environmental Network Advocacy Awards to Councilmember McDuffie, Councilmember Cheh, and to Council staff, Nicole Rentz and Ronan Gulstone, for their sponsorship, support and help for a number of initiatives important to DCEN and the broader sustainability community.

DCEN presented a partial list of 2015 priorities including (partial):

- STOP COLD the EXELON/PEPCO merger because it’s bad for the poor and the environment.
– Work to grow the District’s Electronic Waste Infrastructure.
Expand the District’s RPS to match the challenges from California & New York.
– Continue to work towards making the District a zero waste city.
– Work with IMGRebel, DDOE and broader sustainability community to implement Recycle-By-Design, to spur innovation and increase the District’s waste diversion from landfill and incineration.
– Work with the wildlife, nature, and academic community to pass a Sense of the Council (SOC) resolution in support of Biophilic principles that can help connect us to nature. (short-term)
– Continue to create opportunities to network and grow the sustainability movement in the District.

SEE DCEN POWERPOINT HERE.

We all achieved our goal of creating some early momentum for District sustainability issues in 2015.

 

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14
Jan

Support CCAN POLAR BEAR PLUNGE!

Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 11:52:08 AM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN urges ALL to support CCAN POLAR BEAR PLUNGE!

You Still Have Ten Days to Join the “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge!

DC Environmental Network:

When I visited the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) last week, James McGarry, Mike Tidwell and Ted Glick (see picture) made me an offer I could not refuse. They asked me to let DCEN know about the annual “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge that is scheduled for Saturday January 24th.

The Polar Bear Plunge is CCAN’s biggest fundraising event, powering victories to move our region off of fossil fuels and to clean energy. Each year, activists, friends and families show their commitment to fighting climate change by jumping in the icy Potomac River. And guess what? You still have time to sign-up!

In the last year, CCAN has been a powerful ally, with the DC Environmental Network, in efforts to make the District of Columbia a clean energy leader by promoting policies to expand the use of renewables and reduce carbon emissions. I don’t usually do financial advocacy up front but it’s hard to not recognize the passion and commitment CCAN puts into all they do in the region. DCEN will also need to count on CCAN’s support in upcoming efforts to move our climate protection campaigns to the next level.

This is a much too long way of saying join over 200 climate activists and sign-up for the exciting, fun and important “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge.  Here are the three simple steps to joining the fun:

1. Go to www.keepwintercold.org and hit the green “Register” button to get started. Follow the easy prompts to create your personalized fundraising page and set your goal.
2. Invite your friends, family and colleagues to sponsor your plunge.
3. Come to National Harbor, MD on January 24th and bask in the bragging rights that come with your icy dip!

If you cannot participate, please consider joining me in sponsoring James McGarry’s Polar Bear Plunge. James worked hard with DCEN, the last twelve months to promote clean renewable energy. He deserves our support.

Click Here! Join me in helping James go beyond his $1,000 Polar Bear Plunge goal!

Thanks!

Chris Weiss
DC Environmental Network

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22
Dec

Network with DCEN in 2015!

Mon Dec 22, 2014 at 05:20:23 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

All Metro-Washington Environmental Organizations and Activists are Invited to Our Monthly Networking Opportunity!

2015 Awards Graphic

On January 8th at NOON, join the DC Environmental Network for a perfect way for DC sustainability advocates to start the year. We had an incredible 2014. Now let’s start 2015 with a bang!

Special presentation featuring:

- Councilmember Tommy Wells, Mayor-Elect Bowser’s District Department of the Environment (DDOE) Director Nominee (confirmed)

Our DCEN 2015 Environmental Advocacy Award Recipients:

- Councilmember Mary Cheh (confirmed)
Nicole Rentz, Legislative Director, Offices of Councilmember Mary Cheh (confirmed)
Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie
Ronan Gulstone, Deputy Chief of Staff, Committee Director, Offices of Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (confirmed)

Background:

DSC_0116bCome meet Mayor-Elect Bowser’s nominee for Director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), DC Councilmember Tommy Wells, as he gives an overview of what DDOE will be focused on with the new administration. This will also be an opportunity for all of us to start sharing what we hope will be in store for the District’s environment in the coming year.

We will also be giving out DC Environmental Network Advocacy Award’s to Councilmember Mary Cheh, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Nicole Rentz (Cm. Cheh staffer) and Ronan Gulstone (Cm. McDuffie staffer).

Space will be limited. You can only attend if you RSVP here.

Councilmember Cheh & Nicole Rentz:

Cheh w KidsCouncilmember Cheh and her Legislative Director, Nicole Rentz (and others), have worked extremely hard in 2014 to modernize the District’s waste management practices and worked closely with DCEN, Sierra Club, Institute for Local Self Reliance and others to incorporate policy changes that support the international concept of zero-waste. Cheh’s offices have also been leading the charge with legislative initiatives on a number of other issues important to the environmental community.

Councilmember McDuffie & Ronan Gulstone:

McDuffie at RPS First ReadingCouncilmember McDuffie and his Committee Director, Ronan Gulstone (and others), have been at the forefront of leading efforts to combat global warming in 2014. Committee on Government Operation’s Chairman McDuffie marshaled a number of legislative initiatives through the Council including a bill to expand access of low and middle income District residents to the promise and benefits of solar energy and a bill to help the District meet its renewable energy goals by focusing important incentives on energy sources that have the most promise including wind and solar. Chairman McDuffie also supported a number of other environmental initiatives in 2014.

Here is the award we recently presented to former DDOE Director Christophe Tulou:

Tulou Award 2014 b FINAL

We are making a special point of recognizing the staff that work at the Council because they are often the face and voice we experience on a daily basis as we all engage in education and advocacy on our issues.

Let us know you are coming. Space is limited. RSVP here.

Come show your appreciation for their work on climate, waste and other issues.

All are welcome.

 

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17
Dec

DC Council Unanimously Passes Clean Energy Bill!

Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:39:28 AM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

PAUL’S UPDATE: DC Council Approves Bill to Support & Grow Wind & Solar Energy!

DC Environmental Network:

Just minutes ago I watched as the District of Columbia Council unanimously voted to approve Bill 20-418, the “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Amendment Act of 2014.” This was the final vote of a 17-month campaign effort. Mayor Gray is expected to sign the bill in the near future.

The DC Environmental Network (DCEN) played an important, central role in making this happen.

Please take a moment to make a donation and keep us moving towards a clean energy future.

This bill makes the District of Columbia a national leader by updating the list of what constitutes a clean source of energy in the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). It does this by eliminating, in the coming years, the current practice of sending District dollars to incentivize the use of dirty and inefficient “black liquor” (a by-product of the paper-making process). It makes these same dollars available to incentivize newer, cleaner forms of energy like wind and solar.

Clean energy is what we desperately need to reduce carbon emissions and combat global warming.

That’s an important change that we can all be proud of.

We enthusiastically thank the DC Council for voting to support a future with more solar and wind power. Their actions are helping build the infrastructure to create new industries that can employ District residents with good, meaningful jobs.

Since the bill was introduced by DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Mary Cheh in July of 2013, the DC Environmental Network has been working hard to make sure the campaign stayed on track to get this bill passed before December 31st, the end of this Council period. After a lot of hard work, including the focus of the Chair, Kenyan McDuffie, of the Committee on Government Operations, we achieved this goal!

We thank all of you who helped in this effort. We could not have succeeded without you. And, of course, we could not have accomplished our goals without resources.

Please consider making a donation today.

Sincerely,

Paul Walker, PhD
DC Environmental Network Coalition Partner
Director, Environmental Security & Sustainability
Global Green USA
Green Cross International

 

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16
Dec

DC PSC Should Reject Pepco-Exelon Merger!

Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 06:18:17 AM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DC Environmental Network:

The DC Environmental Network (DCEN) has been busy working to finish a legislative campaign designed to make changes to the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that will result in increasing opportunities for wind and solar, and decreasing, and ultimately eliminating rate payer dollars that end up supporting dirty and inefficient black liquor and related biomass energy sources.

We are also currently gearing up to oppose the Pepco-Exelon merger.

The following are quick updates that will share the latest but also let you know about opportunities to show support for renewable energy.

- DCEN Looking for a Renewable Energy Victory This Wednesday:

We are in the final week of a campaign that started on July 10, 2013, when DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Mary Cheh, introduced Bill 20-0418, the “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Amendment Act of 2013″ to eliminate black liquor from the District’s RPS laws and create efficiency standards on the use of the remaining qualifying biomass energy sources. SEE COMMITTEE REPORT HERE!

DCEN, CCAN, Sierra Club (DC Chapter), DC Divest and many others have participated in hearings, DC Council meetings, climate rally’s and numerous other educational and advocacy opportunities. In the end we have succeeded in defending the intent of a bill that will help move the District and region forward. This would be a nice way to end the year.

OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR CLEAN ENERGY RPS BILL: This Wednesday, December 17th at 10:00 AM, the DC Council will be holding the last legislative meeting of the year and will include the FINAL reading of the RPS bill we have all worked so hard to pass. DCEN and others will be at the legislative session showing support. If you want to join us send us an email and we will send you more information.

– DCEN Opposes Proposed Pepco-Exelon Merger!

A growing number of DC activists and organizations are coming to the realization that giving the keys to our clean energy future to Chicago based Exelon would be a major mistake and working to stop the merger could be the most important thing we all do in 2015.

DCEN invites all to join DC activists December 17th at 5pm at 1333 H St. NW, Washington, DC for a rally to oppose Exelon’s takeover of Pepco and a holiday party. We’ll be demonstrating our opposition to the Exelon-Pepco merger and celebrating a great year of citizen action in DC. This will also be an opportunity for anyone who wants to testify in opposition to the merger.

More details can be found here.

DCEN believes the proposed Pepco-Exelon merger threatens DC residents and local businesses with higher energy bills and lower reliability. The merger reverses the District’s progress on local renewable energy and energy efficiency, and it moves decision making for the District’s grid from here in DC to a powerful corporation’s headquarters in Chicago. Exelon’s corporate interests are not aligned with the policy objectives of the District of Columbia, and Exelon’s acquisition of Pepco is not in the public interest.

There are many reasons to oppose the Pepco-Exelon merger. Here are some that are of particular importance to the DC Environmental Network (DCEN):

1. The Pepco-Exelon Merger Would Hurt the District’s Poor & Middle Class Residents!

Pepco-Exelon merger would mean higher electricity bills. Exelon’s own regulators have told the Public Service Commission (PSC) the merger will result in higher electricity bills. Exelon could not have picked a worse time. According to a Survey from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, hunger and homelessness has continued to increase in U.S. cities. The District of Columbia led all cities with both the largest increase in the number of requests for emergency food assistance and largest increase in homelessness. Approving the merger would mean increased energy costs for the poor and middle class and would make this bad situation even worse. Our city cannot afford to increase the burden placed on the poorest District residents.



2. The Pepco-Exelon Merger Would Hurt the District’s Progress and Targets for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency!

Exelon’s track record has made it clear that they do not support the vision of organizations like DC SUN, DCEN and others who want to grow solar (and other renewables) in every neighborhood in the District. Exelon’s track record shows that District residents should expect little or no support for the stated goals of the District’s Sustainable DC plan of increasing use of renewables up to 50% and cutting citywide energy use by 2032. Exelon has fought against renewables and energy efficiency in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois and Ohio…we should expect nothing less should a merger be approved by the Public Service Commission.

One only has to look at Exelon’s large portfolio of 23 expensive (some aging) nuclear power plants and its business model to expand its ratepayer base to pay for its nuclear portfolio, to understand it does not spend much of each day trying to build a clean energy future. Exelon, through its actions, have shown they want to create a “Nuclear Renaissance” and continue to put our communities at risk. Unlike countries like Germany, who have shut down ALL their nuclear power plants, Exelon chooses to ignore the lessons of Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island and continue to anchor their energy portfolio with this archaic and costly energy source. They do this at great financial risk to all of their current and future ratepayers.

3. The Pepco-Exelon Merger Would Dramatically Decrease Local Control of Our Electricity!

Exelon’s corporate headquarters is about 700 miles away! Pepco’s headquarters are right in the middle of the District. DC has benefited from having key utility decision makers from Pepco living in the same neighborhoods that have been impacted by reliability problems like the Derecho storm. Our Public Service Commission, Mayor, Council, NGO’s and District residents have all benefited from having folks from all levels of Pepco corporate decision making circulating amongst us. Pepco has been far from perfect but at least they are from here. Exelon does not have a stake in District residents, local issues or our priorities. It is extremely likely that much of the decision making about our own energy future will be made in Chicago by folks with little connection with our interests.

These are just some of the many problems a Pepco-Exelon merger could bring to the District and surrounding jurisdictions.

We will be holding a DCEN brown-bag in January to give organizations an opportunity to join the campaign and help fight what could be the most important issue of the year.

Sincerely,

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network (DCEN)

 

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9
Dec

The District’s E-Recycling Potential

Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 06:20:18 PM EST

by Michelle H. Cruickshank, Electronics Recycling Intern, DCEN

Waste Blog 2 w NO BACKGROUND

 

District of Columbia Electronic Recycling WEB

Field Trip Visions: Insights to the District’s E-Recycling Potential

DC Environmental Network:

Research is great.  More so, it is necessary when learning about a new topic.  Watching a movie or looking at diagrams is insightful and dynamic.  But I believe that nothing quite beats seeing a concept put into action live to get a point across.  That’s way I was so excited to—after having researched about E-Recycling legislation and written up my findings in a blog and video combo—to be able to go on some field trips to see computer refurbishing and recycling in action.

Project Reboot:

On October 1, I met with Dennis Courtney, the President of Capital PC User Group’s Project Reboot for a personal tour of his facility.  Project Reboot is a volunteer run computer refurbishing nonprofit.  They accept donations of laptops, desk tops, printers, copiers, and any computer related equipment (mouse, keyboards, cords, etc.).  They do small-scale refurbishing of the laptops and desk tops, mainly replacing the hard drives, while adding memory and a DVD-player.  Electronics that cannot be refurbished or used for parts are recycled at Montgomery County Transfer Station; this is also where Project Reboot receives many of their computers.  They have an open agreement with Montgomery County to pick through the electronics recycling bin at the transfer station for viable electronics.  Once the electronics are ready for use, Project Reboot sells them for low prices to low-income individuals that have referrals stating their need.  Computers sell for only $25, which comes with a warranty and after-warranty tech support.

E-End:

On November 3, a group of ten of us attended a facility tour of E-End in Fredericks, Maryland.  We met with the CEO, Arleen Chafitz, and President, Steve Chafitz.  E-End is a small business that specializes in electronics recycling and data destruction.  They employ 16 people full time, whose previous work experiences vary, because they can properly train anyone from a High School drop out to a college graduate, as long as they are able to pass a background check and drug screen.  E-End also contains a refurbishing component, refurbishing those computers able to be saved, before recycling the ones that cannot.  After an educational discussion of the process, costs, and certifications for electronics recycling, we toured the facility and saw how the different components of the electronics were broken down.

These two organizations are exactly what the District needs.  As stated in the earlier blog, the District just passed a new Solid Waste Bill that will make it illegal to dispose of electronics in the trash by 2018.  While it is a good start, DC Environmental Network (DCEN), Institute for Local Self Reliance, and others involved in our E-Recycling campaign are disappointed that the language of the bill omitted incentives for localized recycling.

DCEN would like to see that the city adopts a policy that allows approved nonprofits to pick through the collected electronics to be recycled for ones that can be refurbished or used for parts, similar to the symbiotic relationship between Montgomery County and Project Reboot.  The remaining electronics would be sent to a recycling company, preferably one set up in the District that is certified with e-Stewards.

Using this system, the District would benefit from new jobs, such as those at E-End, new marketable skills, such as the skill volunteers have at Project Reboot, and more affordable computers for low-income residents and students.

It’s a win-win-win scenario, without even counting all the wins for the environment and public health.  As we move forward in the coming weeks, we will be discussing with potential nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and council members, how to best produce this desired system for the District’s new E-Recycling initiative.  If you would like to be involved in the process, please contact me at mhcruickshank@dcen.net .

Wanna learn more?  Check out these resources below:

- This is a cool (and short!) video that shows you how electronics are recycled: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaKLgovVkJQ
- This outlines the dangers of using prison labor to recycle electronics (one of the reasons why we push for e-Stewards): http://www.electronicstakeback.com/global-e-waste-dumping/prison-recycling/
- Project Reboot is always accepting donations, especially for laptops, which are always in high demand and limited supply.  To donate: http://reboot.cpcug.org/

Michelle H. Cruickshank
Electronics Recycling Intern
DC Environmental Network (DCEN)

 

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29
Nov

DC Council Supports Clean Energy!

Sat Nov 29, 2014 at 12:02:59 AM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

RPS Mark-Up Final B w text USE THIS

DC Council Committee Unanimously Supports Clean Energy and Jobs!

DC Environmental Network:

We all have something to celebrate…at least for the moment. Earlier this week the Committee on Government Operations, led by Chairman Kenyan McDuffie, unanimously marked-up Bill 20-0418, the “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Amendment Act of 2013″  to strengthen the District’s renewable portfolio standard, and help grow the best renewables, wind and solar, for DC residents.

Councilmember (and Mayor Elect) Muriel Bowser, Councilmember Vincent Orange, Councilmember Mary Cheh, Councilmember David Catania and DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson all voted affirmatively to support  this bill. This important climate bill will now go before the full DC Council on December 2nd for a first reading.

High Paid “K Street” Lobbyists Attempt to Scare DC Council:

Even as the Council moved to take an important step to move the RPS bill and help create the infrastructure for new jobs while reducing carbon emissions responsible for global warming, high paid “K Street” lobbyists, led by the well-financed American Forest & Paper Association, began to pour more out of “state” resources into trying to defeat this bill.

Hours after the Committee on Government Operations marked-up the RPS bill, the K street lobbyist’s sent a misleading letter to the DC Council inaccurately suggesting the bill eliminates biomass boiler operations; that carbon neutrality is the only requirement for meeting the intent of the renewable portfolio standard (when the carbon neutrality of black liquor is irrelevant to the intent of rps laws); and irresponsibly trying to scare the Council with the unsubstantiated possibility of rate increases on “residents and businesses.”  The letter was a desperate attempt to mislead the Council as it is moving towards final passage.

The DC Environmental Network Needs Your Help Today!

The DC Environmental Network, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, DC Divest, Sierra Club and many others have been working hard the last 18 months to pass this legislation.  Here are a number of things you can do to help create a clean energy future for the District and region:

- Join us at the DC Council on December 1st at 8:45 AM to help us make our final rounds to a number of DC Council offices urging the Council to vote for the RPS bill and unanimously support clean energy and jobs. Click here to let me know you are coming!

– Join us at the DC Council on December 2nd at 10:00 AM to witness an important moment as the full Council votes on the “Renewable Energy Portfolio Amendment Act of 2013″ at the first reading. Click here and let me know you are coming!

Make your end of year donation to support the climate work of the DC Environmental Network.

DCEN has so much work to do between now and the end of the year that we will not be sending out separate emails asking for your participation in our end of year giving campaign…we will only be incorporating an ask into our advocacy and event communications. If you have never given to DCEN, please consider making a donation in 2014.

Together, let’s show the K Street lobbyists that we know what we are doing and are serious about reducing carbon emissions.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

 

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9
Nov

Solutions to Help Achieve Zero Waste in DC

Sun Nov 09, 2014 at 09:03:36 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

All Metro Washington area environmental organizations, activists and all interested parties are invited to our monthly networking opportunity:

On November 12th at Noon, at 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor, join the DC Environmental Network, and representatives of IMG Rebel, who will present on a new and exciting concept called “Recycle by Design”.

Sign-up to attend and learn about this innovative concept that can help take our zero waste efforts to another level.

Our two panelists:

- Jeff George, IMG Rebel

“With an educational foundation in Environmental Design, Urban Planning, and Sustainability, I’ve has accrued over 25 years of professional experience within the solid waste sector. For many of these years I have worked expansively not only throughout the US, but numerous countries in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. This includes living & working in the UK for four years from 2008-2012. This breadth of both domestic and international exposure has given me the ability to comfortably cultivate strong cross-cultural relationships with clients, stakeholders, and other diverse groups near and far. I try to maintain a worldly perspective which I believe has helped me to see what works – and doesn’t work – and even more importantly, why. Most recently, I have been drawn to the development and implementation of sustainable waste management practices within both the public and private sectors. I particularly enjoy new business development and stakeholder engagement; seeing innovative ideas develop through an organic growth process into implementable actions of change. I was raised and grew up within the shadows of the Oneida Community, a utopian-based commune founded by John Humphrey Noyes in 1848 focused on the belief of Perfectionism.”

[Photo: Jeff and his daughter, Rebecca, climbing Franz Josef Glacier on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.]

- Lenny van Klink, IMG Rebel

“My job at Rebel is to manage complex organizational change at both government and business level. I was previously employed as a public administrator and business administrator by the Dutch finance ministry, Twynstra Gudde, the ORMIT Advanced Management Program and French company SUEZ/SITA. I like projects which focus on the successful implementation of new initiatives whose goals I can translate into winning business cases. To do this I combine strategic, business development and change management skills.”

[Photo: Lenny taking a break on one of the Dutch Wadden Island “Tershelling”. This building was once used as a safe house for stranded sailors.]

Sign-up to attend and meet our two global experts as they present to us the concept of recycle by design.

Recycle by Design:

The District of Columbia and surrounding region, and communities across the globe, face significant challenges to achieving the goal of increasing recycling rates and moving towards being a zero waste society. The District is going to have to engage on numerous fronts and will need both public and private approaches if we ever want to achieve the sometimes complimentary goals of improving the environment and creating jobs and new business opportunities in our city. Recycle by Design could be an important tool to spur progress on this front.

This concept was inspired by the “Rebuild by Design” initiative that was a particularly successful response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in the greater New York Metropolitan area. The goals of IMG Rebel’s, Dutch inspired, “Recycle by Design” concept is to create a competition for discovering the best solutions for a complex and resilient problem.

Goose FlapThe goal is two-fold:

– Promoting innovation by developing regionally-scalable—but locally-contextual—solutions that increase recycling in a given region. The solutions in the selected proposals will be implemented with dedicated public and private funding.
– Creating policy innovation by committing to set aside governmental funds and cooperation from governmental organizations to implement the best solution or group of solutions.

There is no well formulated blue print for Recycle by Design, instead it is a tailor-made approach for each community. The purpose of this DCEN networking opportunity is to begin a conversation, led by IMG Rebel, to figure out what Recycle by Design might look like in the District of Columbia.

As stated by IMG Rebel:

“Lessons learned from Rebuild by Design and its partners have demonstrated that by working together through this type of design process, ambitious, realistic, and more resilient standards of infrastructure can be established that respond to communities’ challenges within a new, more innovative environment. By successfully complementing the traditional public procurement approach, Recycle by Design will stimulate public-private financing and produce an alternative organizational structure for development that promotes ingenuity.”

Join the conversation by signing up here!

All are welcome.

 

Comments (0)

22
Oct

The After-Life of Electronics in DC

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 06:28:50 PM EST

by Michelle H. Cruickshank, Electronics Recycling Intern, DC Environmental Network

Michelle Post No Background

DC Environmental Network:

Are you reading this at work right now with your company or organization’s desktop?  Or are you at home reading it with your laptop?  Possibly you are on the metro with your tablet or in a coffee shop with your smart phone.  Wherever you are, I know you are reading it from some kind of electronic device.

How old is your device?  I bought my laptop last Thanksgiving, while Chris Weiss, here at DCEN, is working on a refurbished desktop that he bought three months ago.  My husband has had his iPhone 4s for three years (as of this month); while my cousin is frantically awaiting her cell phone upgrade coming next month.

It is no secret that technological advancements are increasing exponentially, while many Americans desire to have the newest electronic toy available.  SellCell, an electronics trade-in website, stated that “consumers are trading in their iPads and other tablets at an ‘unprecedented rate’ to buy the newest offerings from Apple, Google, and Microsoft.”  For those who are frugal, once their electronics do break down, they find that it cheaper and a better value to buy a new one than repair the old.

But where do your old electronics go, once you replace them?  Just push play to find out:

So, where do we go from here?  How can we best improve E-Recycling in our communities?  Currently, there are 25 states that have passed E-Recycling laws.  Washington D.C. has joined the trend, passing Bill 20-641, the “Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014″, which, among other things, will make it illegal to dispose of electronics in the trash by 2018.  In order to accomplish this, the District places the responsibility on the companies that sell electronic goods to participate in electronic recycling programs.

Looking at the 25 different state E-Recycling laws we found a wide variety in the rate of success.  Check the chart below to see how the District’s plan measures up to the lessons learned of effective E-Recycling laws (in bold are lessons learned from previous laws, as told by the Electronics Take Back Coalition):

The biggest missed opportunity from our recently passed laws is that they do not encourage the companies collecting the electronics to prioritize District organizations and businesses for the refurbishing and recycling of these products.  Without this piece, it can be predicted that most of the electronics will be sent to recycling centers out of the District.  The District collected 137 tons of electronics last year at the Fort Totten Waste Collection Center, and it has the potential to collect 1,000 tons each year.

The District should demand to benefit from the potential jobs and money that would result from localized recycling efforts.

From here, DCEN, Institute for Local Self Reliance and others, will be looking into ideas on how to improve E-Recycling in the District.  We will be meeting with recycling centers and nonprofits focused on computer refurbishing to get a better idea of the current e-recycling infrastructure in the District and nearby and how this can be expanded.  We want to find ways to encourage and incentivize the wealth and jobs that e-recycling can provide to stay within the District.

If you are interested in attending some of our upcoming E-Recycling Events or becoming involved, feel free to contact me at mhcruickshank@dcen.net . UPDATE: Our first e-waste recycling tour of the E-End electronic recycling facility in Frederick, MD is scheduled for November 3rd.

Here are some websites I enjoyed visiting, if you wish to learn more:

- Electronics Take Back Coalition: http://www.electronicstakeback.com/home/
- Lessons Learned: http://www.electronicstakeback.com/wp-content/uploads/Lessons-Learned-from-State-E-waste-laws.pdf
- E-Waste Facts: http://www.causesinternational.com/ewaste/e-waste-facts
- Free Geek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=625LPUACix0
- High Tech Trashing of Asia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDSWGV3jGek

Michelle H. Cruickshank
Electronics Recycling Intern
DC Environmental Net

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20
Oct

Biophilic DC Report w/Video & Next Meeting Info!

Mon Oct 20, 2014 at 08:28:51 AM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

The DC Environmental Network invites you to a special Biophilic DC organizing session to plan and build a DC Council resolution campaign coalition in support of our shared efforts to help District residents connect with nature.

Res Campaign Meeting 10 30 14 No Background

DSC_0155b2
DC Environmental Network:

On October 2nd, the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) hosted a very special presentation and discussion on the international Biophilic Cities project. This opening event, featuring University of Virginia Prof. Tim Beatley and network members Stella Tarnay and Megan Draheim, introduced Biophilia to local environmental leaders (and others), many of whom are already promoting nature in the nation’s capital.

Some of the organizations who came to share, listen and learn about this new initiative included the Alice Ferguson Foundation, American Bird Conservancy, Anacostia Unplugged, Anacostia Watershed Society, ANC 3D01, Casey Trees, City Wildlife, DC Climate Action, DC Environmental Network, DC Greenworks, Dumbarton Oaks Conservancy, Federal City Council, Friends of the Earth, Global Green USA/Green Cross International, Humane Society of the U.S., National Geographic Society, Old Growth Forest Network, Restore McMillan, SCRAP DC – Sierra Club, Washington, DC Chapter, Songbird Project, Summit Foundation, United for a Healthy Anacostia River, University of Virginia, Biophilic Cities Program, and Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability.

RSVP here for our October 30th Biophilic DC Campaign meeting.

Participants saw lots of opportunities to make Washington DC a more Biophilic City, as well as noting that it is already in many ways nature-friendly. The city’s active sustainability and resilience initiatives, it was noted, could be strengthened with a biophilia perspective. (Several participants noted the disparity of nature access among the city’s neighborhoods, the joys as well as conflicts that arise between humans and urban wildlife, and strong ongoing development that brings more housing and amenities to the city, but can marginalize nature.)

You can watch the presentations here:

1. Watch Professor Tim Beatley give an overview of the international Biophilic Cities network.
2. Here is Professor Beatley’s PowerPoint presentation.
3. Watch Stella Tarney and Professor Megan M. Draheim explore how the Biophilic Cities project principles are already connected to current District initiatives and community characteristics.

Stella, Megan and I (and others) are forming a working group to consider a Biophilic DC resolution to put before the District of Columbia City Council in the near future. The purpose of this resolution would be two-fold. One, to join the list of cities around the globe that are part of the Biophilic Cities network and two, to increase awareness and support for the natural world that lives right next door to all of us.

What is a biophilic city?

“A biophilic city is at its heart a biodiverse city, a city full of nature, a place where in the normal course of work and play and life residents feel, see, and experience rich nature–plants, trees, animals. The nature is both large and small–from treetop lichens, invertebrates, and even microorganisms to larger natural features and ecosystems that define a city and give it its character and feel. Biophilic cities cherish what already exists (and there is much, as we have already seen) but also work hard to restore and repair what has been lost or degraded and to integrate new forms of nature into the design of every new structure or built project. We need contact with nature, and that nature can also take the form of shapes and images integrated into building designs…” – Timothy Beatley, Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning.

The first Biophilic DC resolution campaign meeting will be on October 30th at Noon at the offices of the DC Environmental Network/Global Green USA, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor. All are welcome.

RSVP HERE and come help us educate our elected officials about the important connection between each one of us and nature and why promoting biophilic principles in DC can improve the health and happiness of our communities.

Hope to see you on the 30th!

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

 

Comments (0)

19
Oct

Recycle By Design: Solutions to Achieve Zero Waste

Sun Oct 19, 2014 at 02:17:40 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

All Metro Washington area environmental organizations, activists and all interested parties are invited to our monthly networking opportunity:

RBD Graphic SECOND EMAL FINAL

The District of Columbia and surrounding region, and communities across the globe, face significant challenges to achieving the goal of increasing recycling rates and moving towards being a zero waste society. The District is going to have to engage on numerous fronts and will need both public and private approaches if we ever want to achieve the sometimes complimentary goals of improving the environment and creating jobs and new business opportunities in our city.

On November 12th at Noon, at 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor, join the DC Environmental Network, and representatives of IMG Rebel, who will present on a new and exciting concept called “Recycle by Design”.

Sign-up to attend and learn about this innovative concept that can help take our zero waste efforts to another level.


Recycle by Design:

This concept was inspired by the “Rebuild by Design” initiative that was a particularly successful response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in the greater New York Metropolitan area.

The goals of IMG Rebel’s, Dutch inspired, “Recycle by Design” concept is to create a competition for discovering the best solutions for a complex and resilient problem.

The goal is two-fold:

Promoting innovation by developing regionally-scalable—but locally-contextual—solutions that increase recycling in a given region. The solutions in the selected proposals will be implemented with dedicated public and private funding.

Creating policy innovation by committing to set aside governmental funds and cooperation from governmental organizations to implement the best solution or group of solutions.

There is no well formulated blue print for Recycle by Design, instead it is a tailor-made approach for each community. The purpose of this DCEN networking opportunity is to begin a conversation, led by IMG Rebel, to figure out what Recycle by Design might look like in the District of Columbia.

As stated by IMG Rebel:

“Lessons learned from Rebuild by Design and its partners have demonstrated that by working together through this type of design process, ambitious, realistic, and more resilient standards of infrastructure can be established that respond to communities’ challenges within a new, more innovative environment. By successfully complementing the traditional public procurement approach, Recycle by Design will stimulate public-private financing and produce an alternative organizational structure for development that promotes ingenuity.”

Join the conversation by signing up here!

All are welcome.

 

Comments (0)

26
Sep

Help Protect & Expand Biodiversity in DC!

Fri Sep 26, 2014 at 12:34:18 PM EST

by Paul Walker, Global Green USA

Come share in a conversation about why we all need to connect with nature in our city and hear about an exciting new initiative you can be part of to create a more biodiverse, biophilic city for all.

Biophilic Graphic

The Biophilic Cities Project, DC Environmental Network, City Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States and others have started a new and exciting conversation about connecting our sustainability work in the District, the nation’s capital city, more closely with biophilic principles with the ultimate goal of making DC a true biophilic city.

On October 2nd, at Noon, join the DC Environmental Network for our monthly networking opportunity. We will be holding this event at the offices of DCEN/Global Green USA, 1100 15th Street NW, Washington, DC, 11th Floor.

Our panel:

- Timothy Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, University of Virginia School of Architecture & Lead on Research & Policy work of the Biophilic Cities Project
Stella Tarnay, Advisor, Sustainable Landscape Design Program, GWU Chair of Education, Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy
Megan M. Draheim, PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability
Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Yes I want to join the conversation about Biophilic DC!

Background:

What is a biophilic city?

“A biophilic city is at its heart a biodiverse city, a city full of nature, a place where in the normal course of work and play and life residents feel, see, and experience rich nature–plants, trees, animals. The nature is both large and small–from treetop lichens, invertebrates, and even microorganisms to larger natural features and ecosystems that define a city and give it its character and feel. Biophilic cities cherish what already exists (and there is much, as we have already seen) but also work hard to restore and repair what has been lost or degraded and to integrate new forms of nature into the design of every new structure or built project. We need contact with nature, and that nature can also take the form of shapes and images integrated into building designs…” - Timothy Beatley, Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning.

Cities all over the planet, including Birmingham, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Portland, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Oslo, San Francisco, Singapore, Wellington and others are all charting a course towards more systematically integrating nature into their urban design and planning.

Our panel will be anchored by Professor Timothy Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the University of Virginia School of Architecture and who leads the research and policy work of the Biophilic Cities Project.

Sign me up to participate in this new and exciting conversation.

All are welcome.

Comments (0)

12
Sep

Come Show Support for DC Council Climate Actions!

Fri Sep 12, 2014 at 01:24:54 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DC Climate Rally 3

DC Environmental Network:

We are almost there! With your valued assistance, the DC Environmental Network has been working hard the last 18 months, to try and help move the District into the 21st Century with creative carbon reduction policies.

Join us on September 23rd to finish the job! RSVP here!

These legislative initiatives, to clean up our renewable portfolio standard and divest city funds from fossil fuels are simple, straight forward, and meaningful changes:

- The “Fossil Fuel Divestment Act of 2013″ will require the city government to sell off its direct investments in fossil fuel companies, sending a strong signal to industry that business as usual cannot continue while also protecting pensioners from the hazard of a “carbon bubble.” If we are to avoid catastrophic climate affects, more than 2/3 of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. DC divested from South Africa during Apartheid — it is time to do so again.

– The “Renewable Energy Portfolio (RPS) Standard Amendment Act of 2013″ will help ensure DC’s RPS incentivizes truly renewable, innovative sources of power. While fellow Mid-Atlantic States like powerplantpollutionDelaware and New Jersey get over 70% of their renewable energy portfolios from the wind and sun, these resources have made up only 15% of D.C.’s “renewable” portfolio over the last seven years. The primary reason is a flaw in our renewable energy law that categorizes “black liquor” and “inefficient wood waste” facilities that have been in operation for 30 years on average as renewable fuel providers. Black liquor and inefficient wood waste generate climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions and health-hazardous air pollutants at levels greater than or equal to coal. The D.C. City Council should pass the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Amendment Act of 2013 to remove dirty energy from D.C.’s Tier 1 renewable energy standard. This legislation will promote new, clean sources of renewable energy and reduce pollution at levels equivalent to taking 146,000 cars off the road every year for the benefit of D.C.’s environment, health, and economy.

Now it’s time to finish these important climate campaigns. On September 23rd at 9:00 AM, join the DC Environmental Network as we make our final push to move these two bills over the finish line. Hope to see you then!

Let us know you are coming by signing up here!

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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2
Aug

DCEN LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 2014

Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 09:34:41 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

All Metro-Washington Environmental Organizations and Advocates are Invited to Our Monthly Networking Opportunity:

 

2014 Legislative Update w No Background

 

District Building b2

This year has been an extremely busy one on the legislative front in the District of Columbia. Numerous legislative initiatives, many that deal with issues of importance to our movement, have been making their way through the legislative process.

Mayor Gray, Chairman Mendelson, Councilmember Bonds, Councilmember Cheh, Councilmember Grosso and others have introduced a number of bills that will do a number of things including help grow the local community garden movement; ban Styrofoam; clean up toxics in the Anacostia River; modernize our solid waste management system; reorganize government agencies; eliminate dirty energy from our Renewable Portfolio Standard; and divest District funds from the fossil fuel industry (partial).

Some of the bills we will get updates on:

– Bill 20-0418, the “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Amendment Act of 2013″
– Bill 20-0573, the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013″
– Bill 20-0641, the “Waste Management Modernization Act of 2014″
– Bill 20-0481, the “Fossil Fuel Divestment Act of 2013″
– Bill 20-0677, the “Urban Farming and Food Security Act of 2014″

On August 7th at NOON, join the DC Environmental Network for a special Legislative Update were DC Council staff and environmental advocates will give us the latest information about a number of important bills. This special briefing will be held at the offices of the DC Environmental Network, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.

RSVP and learn what you can do to make 2014 one of the best years for sustainability.

We will talk about next steps for recently passed legislation and start organizing to push the remaining green priorities through the legislative process before the end of the year.

All are welcome!

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20
Jul

DC Council Takes a Step Towards Zero Waste!

Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 12:42:19 AM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Thanks Council! No Background

Cheh Team on Dais Pic 2

DC Environmental Network:

District citizens, wildlife and environmental advocates had a good day last Monday, July 14th, when the DC Council successfully passed, and sent to Mayor Gray for signature, both the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013″ and the “Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014″. These important bills both had provisions to help the District move towards being a zero waste city.

Highlights of the two bills:

DSC_0106b2vMajor Zero Waste Provisions of the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013″:

  • Called for a ban of the use of Styrofoam for food service businesses by January 1, 2016.
  • Requires food service businesses to only use compostable or recyclable food service ware by January 1, 2017

Major Zero Waste Provisions of the “Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014″ (partial):

  • Requires the Executive to develop a zero waste plan that lays out the programs necessary to achieve Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC goal of 80% waste diversion and clears the way for a Pay as You Throw (PAYT) system that can help increase the District’s waste diversion rate.
  • Prioritizes reuse and recycling over landfilling and incineration.
  • Requires separation of waste into recyclables, compostables and trash.

What made this first step in the legislative process even more meaningful is that the District of Columbia Council, much like Seattle, San Francisco and other cities, did not back down when high paid corporate lobbyists from the American Chemistry Council, DART Container Corporation and other large corporate interests, lobbied aggressively against these provisions.

2014-07-19_18-02-47The Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, DC Environmental Network, DC Statehood Green Party, Earthjustice, Energy Justice Network, Foundation Earth, Global Bees, Global Green USA, Green Cross International, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Potomac Riverkeeper, SCI/Community Forklift, Sierra Club DC Chapter and many more all played a variety of roles during this legislative process and will continue to advocate for Mayor Gray to sign both bills and continue to engage and advocate during the implementation stages of these two zero waste bills.

This continues to be a priority campaign for the DC Environmental Network and we will be pushing to make sure the District moves forward towards achieving our 80% waste diversion goal.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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12
Jul

Don’t Let Corporation’s Dictate DC Policy!

Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 09:24:29 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Dont Let Corps Dictate DC Policy

DC Environmental Network:

In the last few days the DC Council was visited by an army of high paid corporate lobbyists representing some of the largest corporations on the planet. Their goal was to attack, at the last moment, important environmental bills, some of which are scheduled for final vote on Monday.  All of which are important to thousands of District residents who want to create a Sustainable DC.

Some of the well paid lobbyists were working for the following associations:

American Forest and Paper Association (powerful trade association for forest products) – They were working hard to convince Council members to allow giving the paper mill industry, hundreds of miles away from the District, DC ratepayer dollars to burn dirty, polluting black liquor, to produce energy. This was contrary to the intent of the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard’s law that was designed by DCEN and others, to incentivize clean energy, like wind and solar…not dirty black liquor.

Consumer Electronics Association (representing over 2,000 consumer technology companies) –  Attempted to convince decision makers to limit the scope of what Extended Producer Responsibility means in DC with the effect of  keeping much of the potential value of electronic recycling materials out of the hands and reach of District residents.

American Chemistry Council (representing almost every polluting company on the planet) – Opposed Mayor Gray’s Styrofoam ban and attempted to bully the Council to stall or reject the Mayor’s proposal.

DART Container Corporation (global seller and advocate for increased use of styrofoam) – Were working hard to stop the Styrofoam ban and make sure they could continue to sell their toxic and polluting products to the District and internationally.

All of these corporate representatives share one thing in common. They all have millions of dollars to push local government decision makers around with an army of lobbyists that are more concerned about, maintaining the status quo, protecting profits and increasing income and wealth disparity, then they are about protecting the health and well-being of District residents.

Luckily, our DC Council has been, over the last few decades, willing to represent the interests of District residents and not those of corporate America that believes if it just throws some money around and wages negative campaigns at the last minute, they can slow down progress to combat global warming and promote a zero waste society.

Our priority issues:

Join us to make sure the ban of Styrofoam passes and includes meat trays; dirty and polluting black liquor is eliminated from our RPS laws; support for language to move towards pay-as-you-throw is kept in the bill; and incineration of our valuable waste resources is removed or diminished as a waste management option in DC.

Join us! We need you.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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4
Jul

Mayor Gray Opposes Council Waste Bill!

Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 11:07:29 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

“I urge the Council to reject this legislation.”- Mayor Vincent Gray

 

Zero Waste Letter to Council

 

DC Environmental Network:

2014-07-03_0-29-13As we all move into our 4th of July weekend I wanted to share some important news.

Yesterday, the Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, DC Environmental Network, DC Statehood Green Party, Earthjustice, Energy Justice Network, Foundation Earth, Global Bees, Global Green USA, Green Cross International, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Potomac Riverkeeper and Sierra Club DC Chapter all united around a simple message.

We want zero waste in DC!

All of us have been working very hard to pass Bill 20-641, the “Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014″ to give the District a fighting chance to join cities like San Francisco, Taipei, Seattle, Copenhagen and Capannori, Italy in making zero waste a priority.

Surprisingly, Mayor Vincent Gray sent a letter to the DC Council saying, “I urge the Council to reject this legislation.” He even went so far as to reject a policy, Pay As You Throw (PAYT), that is a cornerstone of his very own Sustainable DC Plan.

Well the whole world pretty much knows that zero waste policies work, are already in place in communities around the world, and can be a stimulus for economic development and healthy communities.

You can learn the whole story in the the letter the environmental community sent to the DC Council in support of their efforts to move the District in this important direction.

dump truck final

We also asked that the District adopt a zero waste hierarchy and eliminate incineration from the list of solid waste management strategies. Incineration is a policy of the past and has no place in our neighborhoods or the communities that surround the District of Columbia.

It’s time for us all to work together to bring our waste management policies into the current century.

Click here to read the letter.

Let me know if your organization can sign-on to this letter. We will be sending an update to the Council sometime next week.

Sincerely,

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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14
Jun

DCEN to Honor Five Former DDOE Employees!

Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 10:39:37 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists and Others to a Special Awards Ceremony & Networking Opportunity!

Awards No Background FINAL

Mark your calendars. On July 10th at Noon, join the DC Environmental Network, Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Grosso for a special recognition of five former District Department of the Environment (DDOE) employees who played important leadership roles to grow DDOE, expand the vision for achieving clean rivers and a clean energy future and developed and created what is now known as the Sustainable DC plan.

Click here to sign-up to attend and show support for five DC environmental leaders who made a difference!

ddoe-folks-hires b

Our 2014 DCEN Environmental Advocacy Award Recipients (Former Position with District Government):

- Paul Connor, Deputy Director, Environmental Services, DDOE
- Kim Katzenbarger, Office of the Attorney General, General Counsel, DDOE
- Veronique Marier, Deputy Director, Energy Administration, DDOE
- Christophe Tulou, Director, DDOE
- Barry Weise, Special Assistant & Legislative & Regulatory Analyst, DDOE

Our Award Presenters:

- Chairman Phil Mendelson, Council of the District of Columbia
- Councilmember David Grosso, Council of the District of Columbia

RSVP here!

Mark your calendars. All are welcome.

 

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