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June 1, 2017

Mendelson: Restore Renewable Energy Funds!

Thu Jun 01, 2017 at 02:12:10 PM EST

By DC Environmental Network

DC Environmental Network:

I need to update you quickly on an important, new, DC budget challenge.

I am writing this as our President, Donald Trump, just announced he is going to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. This is not a surprise. I expected this to happen.

Former President Barack Obama quickly responded:

“I am confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”

Just two days ago I found out something that did surprise me. And not in a good way.

In a surprise move, behind closed doors, and with no public input, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson swept $7.5 million dollars from the Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF).

The stated purpose of this fund (REDF) is to create renewable energy:

“(c) The Fund shall be used solely for the purpose of making loans, grants, rebates, and other financial incentives to support the creation of new solar energy sources in the District of Columbia and for otherwise administering the Fund. The Fund may be used to supplement programs supporting the creation of new solar energy sources in the District of Columbia through the Sustainable Energy Utility contract established by Chapter 17N of Title 8 [ยง 8-1773.01 et seq.].”

As former President Obama is calling on cities to “step up and do even more”, some on the DC Council, are forgetting we have a global climate crisis, exacerbated by the actions of a climate change denier president. Unless we convince them otherwise, this Council plans on taking funds that are supposed to help create a clean energy future and using them for other purposes.

DC Council: This is NOT the time to cut funding for renewable energy programs!

This is the time to expand, not decrease, our efforts to grow renewable energy in DC. It’s not going to be easy, but if we commit to this, we can show the world, even as President Trump tries to dismantle our efforts to combat climate change, that the District of Columbia is going to “step up and do even more.” We can show the world that even if we are not part of the Paris Climate Agreement, we are all committed to doing our part.

Our last chance to stop this will be at the final DC Council consideration of the “Fiscal Year 2018 Local Budget Act of 2017” that is scheduled for June 13th, a little over ten days from today.

The DC Environmental Network, and other organizations and coalitions, are trying to figure out next steps. We will continue to update you on this important budget issue.

In the meantime, send an email to Chairman Mendelson at, urging him to use the Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF) to develop renewable energy! It’s that simple.

Chris Weiss
Director, Washington DC Office
DC Environmental Network, Global Green, USA


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