Skip to content

Archive for February, 2016

28
Feb

Oppose Alternative Exelon Merger Proposal!

Sun Feb 28, 2016 at 12:18:56 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Protect District Ratepayers, Oppose the PSC’s Alternative Exelon Merger Settlement Proposal!

DC Environmental Network:

Hard to believe it, but if new, alternative, Public Service Commission (PSC) settlement provisions are adopted into the Exelon/Pepco merger settlement agreement, it will undermine a major component that both the Mayor and People’s Counsel were banking on.

The NEW alternative settlement proposal, if adopted, does NOT do what Mayor Bowser and People’s Counsel, Sandra Mattavous-Frye, want the agreement to do.

Here is what happened:

  • Technically, the PSC has twice rejected the Exelon/Pepco merger as not in the public interest. First by rejecting the original merger proposal, and second by rejecting the proposed settlement agreement.
  • Last Friday, to a surprised audience, the Public Service Commission, passed, by a 2-1 vote, proposed changes to the settlement agreement, that if accepted by all relevant parties in the next two weeks, would deem the merger approved. It would not even have to come back to the PSC Commissioners for consideration. This option was presented by Commissioner Fort, as a way of making the merger “in the public interest”, and was supported by Commissioner Phillips.

  • Unfortunately, to the contrary, the proposed changes would make the old settlement agreement, which already had huge problems, and had been deemed not in the public interest, even worse. This new, alternative deal, was counter to the wishes of Mayor Bowser and People’s Counsel, Sandra Mattavous Frye, as it would make it possible for rate increases to occur soon after the merger is approved.
  • More specifically, the NEW PSC proposed deal removes the millions of dollars that Mayor Bowser had negotiated to “offset” expected residential rate increases until 2019. Attorney General Karl Racine called this mechanism an “essential protection” in yesterday’s Washington Post. Without this offset, rate hikes could hit ratepayers within a year.
  • In addition, as if things are not bad enough, the alternative settlement removes $9 million from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). So, not only will our electric rates increase, but those least able to afford the increases will be harmed the most. We can’t afford this.

DCEN believes these changes make a bad merger plan even worse, and are, most certainly, not in the public interest, and should be roundly and aggressively opposed by ALL stakeholders.

DCEN is hopeful that Mayor Bowser and People’s Counsel, Sandra Mattavous-Frye, already understand how their own provisions, and fundamental stated reasons for supporting the merger, are being attacked with this new proposal.

We need your help to let them know you want this deal rejected. 

Tell the Mayor and People’s Counsel, we can do better, REJECT this NEW, BAD, deal.

Working with PowerDC, DCEN and many others, have strived the last 20 months to counter the overwhelming corporate resources Exelon has put into forcing their antiquated, unsustainable, business model onto our community. We have had some credible success. Now we have a chance to all come together and jointly do the right thing for ratepayers and the environment.

If the Mayor and People’s Counsel reject this misguided deal, we all have a chance of ending up with something much better. 

Sincerely,

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

 

25
Feb

DCEN Capital Climate Coalition 2016

Thu Feb 25, 2016 at 06:04:53 PM EST

by DC Environmental Network

“…research shows that coastal flooding days have more than doubled in the US since the 1980s, the primary drivers of which have been the warming of the atmosphere and oceans. The findings are based on a separate study, released on Monday, that found the Earth’s seas are rising at a pace unseen in the past 2,800 years.”

– The Guardian, February 23, 2016

DC Environmental Network:

Climate change is here, but so are many of the solutions needed to both mitigate and adapt to our planets new, human created, reality. The DC Environmental Network is going to continue to do its part to make sure our capital city is minimally matching, and sometimes even leading, national and global, climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.

In the coming year we will be very busy. Some of our Capital Climate Coalition activities will include:

Democracy Awakening & DC Fair Elections Bill: DCEN will be working to support action on climate change by demanding a democracy that works for all of us, and were money does not buy access and power. (Something we have struggled with as corporations like Wal-Mart and Exelon have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to bully DC decision makers to do their bidding.) To do this DCEN will be (is) advocating for the DC Fair Elections Bill, that empowers small donors and ensure that the voices of everyday DC residents are heard. We will also participate, at some level, in the supportive Democracy Awakening activities later this year.

Working to Support and Expand the District’s Sustainable DC Goals that Support Renewables: The District has a lot of work to reach their 50% renewables target by 2032. There is a lot of opportunity, if existing laws and targets are taken seriously, to meet and surpass District goals. DCEN will be working with the Council and Executive branch to better implement existing laws, strengthen the Districts Renewable Portfolio Standard, and support grid modernization efforts.

DC Carbon Tax: Working with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and many others, DCEN is exploring the possibility of putting a price on carbon pollution that could both clear a better path for a faster transition to clean energy, and create, through rebates, meaningful resources for low and middle income District residents. This campaign could be both a climate and poverty mitigation effort.

DCEN Networking & Education: Just to start, in the next two months, DCEN will be sponsoring important conversations about climate mitigation and adaptation that you are all welcome to participate in. At our March networking event we will be exploring grid modernization efforts. Our April networking event will include a briefing on the District’s DRAFT climate adaptation plan. See details below.

Time to start digging in! Here are some opportunities to engage. Hope you can join us.

Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network, Global Green USA

► Public Service Commission: One Last Chance to Say No to Exelon!

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is scheduled to make their final decision on the proposed Exelon/Pepco merger tomorrow. SEE PSC Meeting Agenda HERE! As we have said many times, nothing in the settlement agreement, negotiated by Mayor Bowser, warrants changing the August 25th, 2015, unanimous decision by the PSC.

The DC Environmental Network is, to a degree, optimistic that the PSC will, courageously, look past the hundreds of millions of dollars Exelon has spent to buy a different outcome, oppose the merger, and roll up their sleeves to work even harder towards creating a reliable, affordable, clean energy future.

The District of Columbia, our nation’s capital city, and the planet, deserve nothing less.

► DCEN March Networking Event: Grid Modernization & Renewables!

On Thursday, March 3rd at NOON, join the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) and DC Climate Action, for DCEN’s monthly briefing and networking opportunity. Our program is entitled: “Addressing Climate Challenges through Grid Modernization and Integration of Renewables:  New Trends & Best Practices:  DistribuTech 2016 Highlights”

The event will be held at the offices of Green Cross International and Friends of the Earth, 1101 15th Street NW, 11th Floor. You must RSVP here to attend this special program.

Our panel:

  • Joe Paladino, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE):  Senior Advisor, DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
  • Edward Yim, D.C. Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE): Associate Director, DOEE Energy Administration
  • Nina Dodge, DC Climate Action (DCCA):  Chair, DCCA Energy and Utilities Committee
  • Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network (DCEN), Global Green USA – Moderator

The three panelists will report back on new developments in energy distribution issues featured at the national DistribuTech Conference held in Orlando, in February 2016. These highlights will provide helpful context for the current DC Public Service Commission’s open, multi-party investigation into “Modernizing the Energy Delivery Structure for Increased Sustainability.”

You must RSVP here to attend this special program. All are welcome!

► DCEN April Networking Event: Briefing/Discussion on District DRAFT Climate Adaptation Plan.

Mark your calendar. On Thursday, April 7th at NOON, join the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) for our monthly networking event featuring a briefing and open conversation about the DC DRAFT Climate Adaption Plan.

The District Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) has generously made themselves available to us, as part of extensive public outreach efforts, to give DCEN participants a chance to give advice, and share our thoughts, on what will become the final plan. We also hope to learn about what other U.S. cities are doing. (Might also be useful to learn what cities outside of the U.S. are doing as well. We will work on that.)

The event will be held at the offices of Green Cross International and Friends of the Earth, 1101 15th Street NW, 11th Floor. You must RSVP here to attend this special program. Our panelists so far include:

  • Kate Johnson, Climate Programs Analyst, District Department of Energy & Environment
  • Georgetown Climate Center (Invited)
  • Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network (DCEN), Global Green USA – Moderator

You must RSVP here to attend this special program. All are welcome!

 

17
Feb

DCEN in March: Climate & Grid Modernization!

Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 05:25:03 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network, Global Green USA

On Thursday, March 3rd at NOON, join the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) and DC Climate Action, for DCEN’s monthly briefing and networking opportunity.

Our program is entitled: “Addressing Climate Challenges through Grid Modernization and Integration of Renewables:  New Trends & Best Practices:  DistribuTech 2016 Highlights”

The event will be held at the offices of Green Cross International and Friends of the Earth, 1101 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.

You must RSVP here to attend this special program.

Our panel:

  • Joe Paladino, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE):  Senior Advisor, DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
  • Edward Yim, D.C. Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE): Associate Director, DOEE Energy Administration
  • Nina Dodge, DC Climate Action (DCCA):  Chair, DCCA Energy and Utilities Committee
  • Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network (DCEN), Global Green USA – Moderator

Overview:

The three panelists will report back on new developments in energy distribution issues featured at the national DistribuTech Conference held in Orlando, in February 2016. These highlights will provide helpful context for the current DC Public Service Commission’s open, multi-party investigation into “Modernizing the Energy Delivery Structure for Increased Sustainability.”

You must RSVP here to attend this special program.

All are welcome!

 

10
Feb

Join Democracy Awakening!

Wed Feb 10, 2016 at 02:55:03 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Join Democracy Awakening!

DC Environmental Network:

Today, DCEN is thrilled to share something huge: This April, thousands will mobilize in Washington, D.C., to spur a Democracy Awakening like never before. From April 16-18, we will gather in our nation’s capital to Rally for Democracy and call for a Congress of Conscience.

The movements for voting rights, money in politics reform, climate, labor, women’s, immigrant and LGBTQ justice and others are coming together to deliver a resounding message to our nation’s leaders:

We demand a democracy that works for all of us – where we have an equal voice and elected officials are accountable to the people and the public interest.

If that’s a vision you want to be a part of, sign up to stay engaged. The Awakening will feature exciting panels and workshops, music, inspiring speakers and activists like you from around the country, joining together to demand solutions.

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued Citizens United back in 2010, it undermined the integrity of the vote by allowing billionaires and wealthy special interests to drown out our voices. And in 2013, the Supreme Court dealt democracy another blow when it gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in its Shelby County decision.

We are mobilizing in April to counter these undemocratic rulings and ensure both the right to vote and the integrity of the vote are upheld in this crucial election year.

Our elected officials have yet to act and we must hold them accountable.

Whether you care about climate change, racial justice, fair wages, or ever-increasing student debt, change is possible only when we stand together.

A coalition of more than 100 groups, from the NAACP to MoveOn.org, the LGBTQ Task Force to the National Organization for Women, the Postal Workers of America to Public Citizen, have already jumped on board to make this April action historic.

Join the fight.

It will take all of us. But together, we’ll awaken the democracy we all deserve.

In solidarity,

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

9
Feb

Briefing: Chemical Safety and Security

Tue Feb 09, 2016 at 02:52:17 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Chemical Safety and Security: Dealing with Global and National Threats

Join Green Cross International, DCEN, and others, for a briefing on “Chemical Safety and Security: Dealing with Global and National Threats.”

  • Wednesday, February 10th, 2016, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
  • Offices of Green Cross International
  • 1101 15th St. NW, Suite 1100 (Friends of the Earth), Washington DC

Threats and challenges linked to the globalization and spread of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) industries and materials require global responses that move beyond politics and internationalize best existing practices and innovative solutions.

The main chemical threats today come from both rogue states and from non-state actors.  Such has been the case with the repeated, systematic use of toxic chemicals such as chlorine against civilians in Syria.  We’ve also witnessed major chemical accidents such as last year’s Tianjin disaster in China. [See picture above.]

Efforts to develop a global approach to chemical safety and security are quickly becoming a reality.  High standards of security and safety must be promoted in the whole chain of chemical activities as an important barrier against chemical weapons proliferation and terrorism.   Amb. Paturej will also address the forthcoming global conference, April 18-20, 2016, in Kielce, Poland (see www.chemss2016.org) on chemical safety and security.

Speakers:

  • Ambassador Krzysztof Paturej, President, International Center for Chemical Safety and Security (ICCSS), Warsaw, Poland
  • Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, U.S. Department of State, Representative of the President for Threat Reduction Programs, Washington DC
  • Supervisory Special Agent Brian Hayes, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington DC
  • Ms. Amy Graydon, Chief, Policy and Rulemaking Branch, Office of Infrastructure Protection, Department of Homeland Security, Washington DC
  • Dr. Paul F. Walker, Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Green Cross International (GCI), Washington DC (Chair)

Coffee and refreshments will be served.

RSVP to Anna Tserelova, atserelo@gmu.edu .

 

3
Feb

DC Council Oversight Hearings 2016

Wed Feb 03, 2016 at 02:48:50 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

DC Environmental Network:

This year is turning out to be a big one. I wanted take a moment to remind you of a couple things:

1. DCEN MONTHLY NETWORKING EVENT TOMORROW @ NOON: Join DCEN tomorrow (February 4th) at NOON for our monthly networking event featuring Dr. Carol Graham of the Brookings Institution, who will give DCEN participants a briefing entitled, “Beyond GNP? What the new “science” of well-being can contribute to economics and to policy.” This will be the first of a series of conversations as DCEN moves towards launching a new initiative to create a well-being index in the District.

IMPORTANT: This briefing and discussion, will be held at the NEW offices of Friends of the Earth & Green Cross International, 1101 15th Street NW, 11th Floor (Just across the street from their old offices.) You must RSVP HERE to participate.

2. JOIN DCEN & PARTICIPATE IN DC COUNCIL PERFORMANCE OVERSIGHT HEARINGS: DCEN hopes other organizations and activists will participate in the upcoming DC Council performance oversight hearings. This is a chance to tell the Council and the Mayor (and agency directors) what you think about their job over the last year. DCEN will be testifying at the hearings that are focused on the work of the District Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) and the District Department of Public Works (DPW). To learn more please take a look at the links below.

Hope you will consider participating!

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Testify Pic FINAL

From the Council website:

Schedule for the Council’s Performance Oversight and Budget Hearings.

From now through the spring, each and every District agency will appear twice before the committees that hold jurisdiction over them. On the first go-around, they will be questioned regarding their performance across the previous fiscal year. In the second visit, their proposed budget for the coming fiscal year will be discussed.

For a more extensive but deeply readable summary of the District’s budget process, please check out the budget section of our Council 101 writeup.

To view the schedule and pertinent materials for Performance and Budget Oversight hearings, please view the following pages:

Hope you can join DCEN for one of these hearings! We will be contacting specific organizations and individuals to try and generate additional participation.

1
Feb

DCEN Announcements – February 1, 2016

Mon Feb 01, 2016 at 02:04:46 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

DCEN February Networking Event!

Join DCEN for our monthly briefing and networking event!

This month’s panelist, Dr. Carol Graham, has prepared a briefing which incorporates the findings of her new, above mentioned book. This briefing is entitled “Beyond GNP? What the New “Science” of Well-Being Can Contribute to Economics and to Policy.” 

This DCEN briefing and networking event will be held at 12:00 NOON at the NEW capital city offices of Green Cross International and Friends of the Earth, 1101 15th Street, 11th Floor, in Washington, DC. All are welcome.

You must RSVP HERE to attend!

Panel Background: 

  • Carol Graham, Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow in Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution & Professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. [Presenter] See bio info here.
  • Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network, Director, Washington DC Office, Global Green USA [Moderator]

Overview:

Governments around the world have been re-designing and collecting well-being metrics to complement those that are in traditional economic indicators. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to better inform policy decisions and possibly inspire higher levels of wellbeing in our communities. The City of Santa Monica’s Wellbeing Project is an example of such an initiative. Carol Graham will brief the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) on this emerging trend and the growing science behind it.

Dr. Graham will also make copies of her new book “The Pursuit of Happiness: An Economy of Well-Being” available for purchase. This important “Brookings Focus Book” explores “the promise and pitfalls of injecting the “economics of happiness” into public policymaking.”

(DCEN will give away one copy of the book to the first three individuals and/or organization that brings five participants to participate in the conversation.)

DCEN hopes to start a conversation and help launch a new campaign to convince the DC government to start its own well-being index project. We believe this approach could show policy makers more clearly how incorporating sustainability principles into decision making may be a more effective strategy for creating happy and healthy communities in the District of Columbia.

You must RSVP HERE to attend!

Our briefing will start with introductions and an opportunity for sustainability focused organizations to share an idea or upcoming event. There will also be opportunities to network before and after the informal presentation.

All are welcome!

Department of Public Works & DCEN Start 2016 with a Bang!

A new era of transparency and openness at the DC Department of Public Works!

At the invitation of Chris Shorter, Acting Director of the District’s Department of Public Works (DPW), and Annie White, who manages DPW’s Office of Waste Diversion, DCEN helped coordinate the first meeting of regional zero waste advocates with the agency in 2016.

A number of DC focused organizations, and others, many who want to see the District incorporate more zero waste programs and policies, participated, including the Institute for Local Self Reliance, Sierra Club – DC Chapter, Global Green USA, Trash Free Maryland, Alice Ferguson Foundation, Anacostia Watershed Society, Anacostia Riverkeeper, Energy Justice Network, Building Materials Reuse Association and IMG Rebel (partial).

Director Shorter and Annie White led an informative discussion that included updates on the interagency waste reduction working group, zero waste plan, and zero waste policies related to the executive’s Sustainable DC plan. There was ample time for questions and comments.

The DC Environmental Network congratulates the DC Department of Public Works for really going out of their way, in the last year, to be transparent and open with the sustainability community and public, on solid waste issues. This is something we have not seen at the agency for a long time. Looking forward to a productive year.

International Honors Program Visits DOEE!

Thanks District Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) for participating is this global discussion! 

For the last 3-4 years DCEN has helped coordinate briefings for participants from theSchool of International Learning’s International Honors Program (IHP). The IHP is a comprehensive four-month experience focused on health and the community that this year starts in DC, then moves on to Delhi (India), Cape Town (South Africa) and ends in Sao Paulo (Brazil).

This year DCEN coordinated a meeting for the students with Ronda Chapman, who organizes equity and community engagement programs for the District Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE).

We had an excellent exchange focused on environmental justice and general equity issues within the District of Columbia.