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Archive for June, 2013

24
Jun

DC Should Divest from Fossil Fuels!

Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:32:29 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

“Led by 350.org, an historic movement is afoot among the country’s institutions — universities, governments, non-profits, foundations, and responsible businesses — to cast a vote of “no faith” in these reckless, uncompromising corporations by taking fossil fuel stocks out of their endowments, pension funds, and cash funds.  To date, Seattle, San Francisco, Boulder, Ithaca and seven other cities already have committed to divesting from fossil fuels.”

The DC Environmental Network invites you to a presentation by and discussion with the DC Divest campaign on Tuesday, June 25th at noon at 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20005.  Please join us to hear more about the new DC Divest campaign, offer your feedback and learn how you can get involved.

Come cast your vote against fossil fuel stocks in the District’s financial portfolio! RSVP here!

CALL-IN INFO: Your Phone: Call +17759963562. If prompted, enter the meeting number: 20375866, then press #. (Please RSVP whether you call or attend in person.)

As you know, time is running out to take serious action on climate change.  With their massive carbon reserves, capital reserves, and infrastructure, fossil fuel companies can either be a major contributor to the climate problem or a huge part of the solution by switching energy modes.  Unfortunately, these companies have made it clear time and time again that they have no intention of averting climate disaster.

Led by 350.org, an historic movement is afoot among the country’s institutions — universities, governments, non-profits, foundations, and responsible businesses — to cast a vote of “no faith” in these reckless, uncompromising corporations by taking fossil fuel stocks out of their endowments, pension funds, and cash funds.  To date, Seattle, San Francisco, Boulder, Ithaca and seven other cities already have committed to divesting from fossil fuels.

By joining these cities, the District of Columbia has a unique opportunity as the nation’s capital to show leadership.

DC Divest is a new all-volunteer campaign started by District residents to convince the DC Council to continue its sustainable city leadership by divesting its holdings from the 200 companies with the largest fossil fuel reserves.

Come to the DC Environmental Network’s offices on Tuesday, June 25th at noon to hear a presentation from DC Divest campaign members about the case for divestment, current campaign activities, and how you can help.

Join the conversation. RSVP here.

20
Jun

Strike Two for Mayor Gray’s Rule!

Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 03:47:40 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Two Strikes for Mayor Gray Graphic B“Our organizations have raised these concerns repeatedly to District government, only to have them rejected at every stage of the process.  At the same time, we have watched the regulations weaken with each successive draft at the request of local development interests.” – Environmental Community Coalition statement to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) on latest draft of Mayor Gray’s stormwater regulations, June 19, 2013

DC Environmental Network:

Today the environmental community sent a letter, written by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that expressed strong concerns with the latest draft of Mayor Gray’s stormwater regulations. These proposed rules were supposed to be designed to curb the amount of polluted stormwater that makes its way into our rivers and creeks. This latest draft was the second time, strike two, that the local environmental community had seen the District weaken these requirements as well as the second time we have seen changes incorporated at the request of development interests.

Statement to EPA highlights:

FINAL EPA Letter Graphic-003“Our groups have doubts about whether these regulations comply with the requirements of the District’s municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit, which Region III issued in October 2011.”

“The most recent draft of the regulations incorporates a transition period that would not require regulated sites to fully comply with the MS4 permit’s 1.2-inch retention standard until 2015.  This delay, especially the first 6-month period when no regulated sites would be responsible for achieving any retention at all, clearly violates the permit’s July 22, 2013 deadline to “adopt and implement” the retention standard under section 4.1.1 of the permit.”

“More fundamentally, the proposed volume credit trading program contains so many loopholes and exemptions that the 1.2-inch standard is undermined practically beyond recognition.”
“Our organizations have raised these concerns repeatedly to District government, only to have them rejected at every stage of the process.  At the same time, we have watched the regulations weaken with each successive draft at the request of local development interests.”

“The MS4 permit’s requirements are critical to restoring DC-area waters, and our groups are determined to see them enforced and implemented properly.”

DC Environmental Community Actions (partial):

The environmental community has worked very hard to make it clear that we want strong regulations in the District.

– We held numerous meetings, discussions and events, many of which were attended by DDOE representatives, and clearly expressed our concerns with these regulations.

– We visited the offices of the Council and Mayor to let decision makers know that the proposed regulations are not consistent with the Mayor’s Sustainable DC goal of fishable and swimmable rivers by 2032.

– We submitted formal comments twice outlining our concerns with the weakening and clear loopholes in the proposed regulations that seem to be responsive to business interests and not District neighborhoods. See Round One Coalition Comments. See Round Two Coalition Comments.

– We delivered hundreds of letters from District residents calling for strengthening, not weakening of these rules.

We have done all these things and more and have yet to be heard in a substantive manner.

Conclusion:

Mayor Gray has an opportunity to hit a home run by closing the loopholes and strengthening these regulations in a meaningful way. We all need to work hard to make this happen.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network