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Archive for May, 2016

25
May

DCEN Action! Time Remains to Comment on Bills!

Wed May 25, 2016 at 02:35:45 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

DC Council Holds Public Hearing on Clean Energy Bill!

[Telana Felder, Southern Homes and Gardens Cooperative, testified in support of the clean energy bill, and shared how solar power, installed in her community, helped low income residents save money.]

The DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment, led by Chairperson Mary Cheh, held a very successful Public Hearing on Bill 21-650, the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Act of 2016. This important legislation would increase the District’s renewable energy targets and create a “Solar for All” program that would put free solar panels on the roofs of low-income homeowners.

The DC Environmental Network and Global Green USA, testified in support of the bill.  We were joined by the Capital Area Food Bank, Southern Homes and Gardens Cooperative, DC Working Families, Amalgamated Bank, MDV-Solar Energy Industry Association, Grid Alternatives, Standard Solar, DC Sun, Nixon Peabody, Kenergy Solar, Cesar Chavez School, Direct Energy Solar, Interfaith Power & Light, Moms Clean Air Force, U.S. Climate Action Network, Wentworth Green Strategies, DC Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and others.

[Committee Chair Cheh, and Councilmember’s Silverman and Allen, stayed for the entire 5 hour hearing.]

You still have time to submit comments:

If you are unable to testify in person, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted to Ms. Aukima Benjamin, staff assistant to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 108, Washington, D.C. 20004. They may also be e-mailed to abenjamin@dccouncil.us or faxed to (202) 724-8118.

The record will close at the end of the business day on May 26, 2016.

DCEN Supports a $15.00/Minimum Wage!

The DC Environmental Network has supported Living Wage and Minimum Wage legislation for over ten years. We believe that fair wages, that give District families a shot at living comfortable lives, is a major sustainability issue, and in the end, is complimentary to other priorities like clean water and clean and affordable energy.

We generally support the basic concept of Mayor Bowser’s “Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2016” of ramping up the minimum wage to $15/hour and consumer price index adjustments over time,  but would also like to see tipped workers included into the mix. We are currently finalizing our testimony but wanted to pitch to all of you that it is important for all of us to comment on this important policy.

– Here is some helpful information: Bill Language & Hearing Notice.

– Working Families Party Hearing Guide!

– Useful links from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute that speak to “general” benefits of minimum wage increases:

Jobs in Retail and Food Service Grew in the First Year of DC’s Minimum Wage Increase.

Latest DC Minimum Wage Increase Helping Improve Families’ Security. 

DC’s Minimum Wage Increase Will Help Thousands of Residents Make Ends Meet.

Send in Testimony Today!

If you are unable to testify at the public hearing, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. The official record will remain open until close of business Friday, May 27, 2016. Copies of written statements should be submitted to the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs, Council of the District of Columbia, Suite 119 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004.

19
May

DC Attorney General Karl Racine One Year Update!

Thu May 19, 2016 at 04:18:42 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Racine_Alternative_Inf_Block b

On June 8th at NOON, join the DC Environmental Network, and other environmental organizations and activists, for our monthly networking opportunity.

Our briefing and discussion will feature, Karl A. Racine, the District’s first elected Attorney General. This event will be held at the NEW offices of Friends of the Earth & Green Cross International, 1101 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.

RSVP here to attend! The District needs your participation.

Background:

Just under one year ago the DC Environmental Network invited the District’s first elected Attorney General, Karl Racine, to come to our monthly meeting, to discuss how the Office of Attorney General can do more to protect District residents, and our continuously threatened natural resources.

It was a very positive and constructive meeting with about 42 DCEN participants, including representatives from Earthjustice, University of the District of Columbia, Sierra Club (DC Chapter), DC Public Service Commission, DOEE, Groundswell, Office of the People’s Counsel, IMG Rebel, Global Green USA, Friends of the Earth, Green Cross International, Potomac Riverkeeper Network, Restore McMillan, Pathways DC, and others.

You can watch the 2015 video presentation here!

DCEN came prepared to propose a number of recommendations, including, following in the footsteps of California and New York, creating an Environmental Protection Bureau within the AG’s offices. During the presentation, Attorney General Racine stated, “Does the AG have the ability to set up a DC Environmental Protection Bureau? …I think the answer is, in the absence of a statutory bar, why not?” Attorney General Racine also suggested, “I think what we might do is…develop a working group, with the environmental activists, were we can identify certain priorities…”

All in all, it was a great start to an important conversation.

The purpose of the June 8th DCEN networking event is to continue this discussion, and, now that the AG’s office has had a year to get organized, work to create better structures and a stronger focus, within the AG’s office, towards protecting and defending the sustainability interests of the District.

You must RSVP here to attend.

Hope you can join us. All are welcome.

13
May

Yes, We Still Have Time to Stop Exelon!

Fri May 13, 2016 at 03:52:12 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Time for one more action to help low-income residents in the District!

May 13, 2015

DC Environmental Network:

Take Time Now Final Web GraphicIs your electricity bill too LOW? Of course not.

But if we don’t keep fighting the attempted takeover of Pepco, we’ll all be paying more to prop up Chicago-based Exelon’s failing nuclear business.

We’re taking the fight against Exelon back to the agency that bizarrely flip-flopped on itself in approving the takeover last month.

Even if you’ve taken action before, I have to ask you again: Tell the D.C. Public Service Commission to stop Exelon.

In reversing its TWO earlier rejections of the takeover, the commission broke its own rules, abandoned its well-founded opposition to the takeover, and dismissed the objections of District residents and officials.

Our allies, Public Citizen, DC SUN and Grid 2.0 have launched a formal challenge against the takeover approval.

And they are not alone.

The D.C. attorney general and the District’s chief consumer advocate are also calling on the commission to do the right thing.

Add your voice — again — to those calling on the D.C. Public Service Commission to reject Exelon’s takeover bid once and for all.

This has been a long fight, and we’ve asked a lot of you.

But local control of our utility, affordable electricity and a path to sustainable energy are all worth fighting for.

Sincerely,

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

 

10
May

DCEN Clean River Leader’s Report & Video!

Tue May 10, 2016 at 03:37:00 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, ED, DCEN

[Panel, LEFT to Right: Brent Blackwelder, Brent Bolin, Jennifer Chavez, Emily Franc, and James Foster]

DC Environmental Network:

I wish all of you had been able to join us last Thursday to hear from some of the best clean river advocates in DC.

I think we sometimes forget what talent and passion our fellow Washington Metropolitan region advocates have and bring to their jobs each day.

We had a number of organizations (and others) represented, who all play a role in clean water issues, including the DC Environmental Network, Global Green USA, Green Cross International, Earthjustice, Clean Water Action, Anacostia Riverkeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper, American Rivers, Anacostia Watershed Society, Center for Biological Diversity, City Wildlife, Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, District Department of Energy & Environment, Friends of the Earth, to name a few.

It’s not as good as being in the room, but I thought I would share some special quotes, and videos, so you can spend a little time learning from some of the regions very best.

Bottom line is we have a lot of work to do to restore our rivers from past and current harms. We also need to put the plans and commitment in place, to protect our waterways, as they are threatened from the future challenges that the growth of humanity will no doubt bring our way.

Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

Jennifer Chavez, Earthjustice

Watch Jennifer’s presentation.

Brent Blackwelder, Potomac Riverkeeper Network

Watch Brent’s presentation.

Brent Bolin, Clean Water Action

Watch Brent’s presentation.

James Foster, Anacostia Watershed Society

Watch Jim’s presentation.

Emily Franc, Anacostia Riverkeeper

Watch Emily’s presentation.

Hope you enjoy and are inspired by their great work on behalf of all of us.

4
May

DCEN Announcements: May 4, 2016

Wed May 04, 2016 at 02:40:17 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, Director, Global Green USA, Washington DC Office

RPS HEARING NOTICE 2017

DCEN Networking, Advocacy & Education!

[Grid Modernization Panel, March 3, 2016]

In the last few months the DC Environmental Network organized two climate related events. We had over 70 organizations and sustainability advocates, participate in these networking, advocacy, and learning opportunities.

On March 3rd, DCEN and DC Climate Action, held a panel discussion on, “Addressing Climate Challenges through Grid Modernization.”

VIDEO LINKS & POWERPOINT for Panelists:

Click Here for the main PowerPoint for all three presentations.

Edward Yim, D.C. Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE): Associate Director, DOEE Energy Administration
Click Here to see Edwards Video!
Nina Dodge, DC Climate Action (DCCA): Chair, DCCA Energy and Utilities Committee
Click Here to see Nina’s Video!
Joe Paladino, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): Senior Advisor, DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
Click Here to see Joe’s Video!

[Climate Adaptation Panel, April 7, 2016]

On April 7th, DCEN and the District Department of Energy & Environment, held a panel discussion on the “DC Climate Adaptation Plan & Global Adaptation Initiatives.”

VIDEO LINKS & POWERPOINT for Panelists:

Kate Johnson, Climate Programs Analyst, District Department of Energy & Environment
Brendan Shane, Regional Director for North America, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

Watch Kate & Brendan’s Video! / Kate’s PowerPoint / Brendan’s PowerPoint

Congratulations and great appreciation for our talented panelists. Apologies we did not share these presentation resources earlier. A lot going on this year!

DCEN Clean Rivers Event – Tomorrow @ Noon!

Tomorrow at NOON, at the offices of Friends of the Earth (1101 15th Street, 11th Floor), join the DC Environmental Network, Global Green USA, Earthjustice, Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Society, Potomac Riverkeeper, and many other DC river focused organizations and activists to celebrate the success of advocay and to learn what still needs to be done.

This conversation will be held at the NEW offices of Friends of the Earth & Green Cross International, 1101 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.

Our Clean River Panelists:

  • Brent Blackwelder, Founder, DC Environmental Network; President Emeritus, Friends of the Earth; Founding Boardmember, American Rivers (1973); and current Boardmember, Potomac Riverkeeper Network
  • Brent Bolin, Chesapeake Regional Director, Clean Water Action
  • Jennifer Chavez, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice
  • James Foster, President, Anacostia Watershed Society
  • Emily Franc, Anacostia Riverkeeper
  • Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network, Director, Washington, DC Office, Global Green USA (Moderator)

You must RSVP here to participate in this clean river conversation.

Hope to see you tomorrow.

2
May

DC Clean River Leaders Briefing 2016

Mon May 02, 2016 at 02:25:36 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Global Green USA

Some of the Key Organizations and People, Who Are Leading Education and Advocacy Efforts, to Protect Our Rivers in the Washington Metro Region!

This Thursday at NOON, at the offices of Friends of the Earth (1101 15th Street, 11th Floor), join the DC Environmental Network, Global Green USA, Earthjustice, Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Society, Potomac Riverkeeper, and many other DC river focused organizations and activists to celebrate the success of advocay and to learn what still needs to be done.

Background:

The health of the Anacostia River, Potomac River and Rock Creek, and the quality of our lives, and sustainability of our economy, are intimately connected. There are a number of DC based organizations that have passionately led local and regional efforts to represent the interests of our rivers, its wildlife, and the people who live near its banks. These groups have been actively working on clean water issues long before government and corporations decided that river restoration was good for voters and for business.  Join us as a number of key organizations share highlights, through pictures and words, of their current work and vision for the future.

PANEL UPDATE: Brent Blackwelder, Founder, DC Environmental Network; President Emeritus, Friends of the Earth; Founding Boardmember, American Rivers (1973); and current Boardmember, Potomac Riverkeeper Network, will be joining the panel. He will share his perspective after decades of working on clean river issues at the local, national, and international level.

You must RSVP here to attend.

This conversation will be held at the NEW offices of Friends of the Earth & Green Cross International, 1101 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.

Our Clean River Panelists:

  • Brent Blackwelder, Founder, DC Environmental Network; President Emeritus, Friends of the Earth; Founding Boardmember, American Rivers (1973); and current Boardmember, Potomac Riverkeeper Network
  • Brent Bolin, Chesapeake Regional Director, Clean Water Action
  • Jennifer Chavez, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice
  • James Foster, President, Anacostia Watershed Society
  • Emily Franc, Anacostia Riverkeeper
  • Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network, Director, Washington, DC Office, Global Green USA (Moderator)

You must RSVP here to participate in this clean river conversation. 

Hope to see you on May 5th.