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June 6, 2017

Climate Action: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

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

by DC Environmental Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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