Chairman Mendelson: Restore Funds, Deploy Solar, Reduce Carbon, Help People!

By DC Environmental Network

June 9, 2017

DC Environmental Network:

The DC Council FINAL budget vote is just under 4 days away!

It has only been 9 days since we found out Chairman Phil Mendelson swept $7.5 million dollars from funds that are supposed to deploy solar energy, reduce carbon emissions, and help low-income District resident with energy costs.

Tell Chairman Mendelson you want a clean energy future and restoration of the $7.5 million!

Since we received the sad news, many renewable energy advocates, organizations, businesses, and others, have been working hard to get past all the noise during budget season, and communicate with DC Councilmembers and staff about the need to restore these special purpose funds.

We have asked several Council offices to approach the Chairman and see if something can be worked out. We are at the point in the budget process where it takes a bit of coordination and communication to make stuff happen.

We continue to move forward.

Today we delivered a coalition letter to Chairman Mendelson signed by some of the most active District advocates, organizations, associations, and renewable energy businesses. We expressed our opposition to the raid of Renewable Energy Development Funds (REDF) and requested he restore the money.

You can read our coalition letter here.

Signatories included the Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, DC Climate Action, DC Consumer Utility Board, DC Environmental Network, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, DC Public Banking Center, DC Sierra Club, DC Solar United Neighborhoods, DC Statehood Green Party, Foundation Earth, Global Green USA, Green Cross International, GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Institute for Sustainable Power, MDV-SEIA, National Housing Trust, New Columbia Solar, The Ocean Foundation, Washington Parks & People, and Wentworth Green Strategies.

We are also continuing to send emails to the Council expressing our opposition to this sweep of important renewable energy funds. Take action right now! We need your voice.

(I know many of you have not yet sent an email to the Council. Please take a moment to click on one of the links and go to the DC SUN website and make your voice heard.)

What we, and all global citizens, do locally in response to President Trump’s inaction on climate change, may be the most essential element to the success, and survival of our planet.

I would hate to wake up the day after the Council vote knowing we had given up important resources needed to grow the District’s clean energy future and help some of our neighbors who need assistance.

Hopefully a commitment to taking the necessary action to combat climate change will prevail.

Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

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Phil Klingle Pic-min

Let’s Chat with DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson!

On July 25th, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM, join the DC Environmental Network for an informal conversation with District of Columbia Council Chair Phil Mendelson. We will hold this event at the offices of Friends of the Earth, 1101 15th Street NW, 11th Floor. All are welcome.

Be part of the conversation! RSVP here!

For over 20 years, the DC Environmental Network has organized hundreds of opportunities for urban advocates, and others, to engage in relaxed, informal conversations with important sustainability experts and District decision makers. These networking events have often resulted in increased coordination among our amazing, talented, advocacy community, as well as sparking new and inspiring campaigns to help create innovative policy changes.

With our 2017 budget advocacy behind us, and much to do looking forward, we thought it might be good to sit down with the Chair of our legislative branch of government, share ideas, and ask questions about the District’s sustainability agenda.

Some possible topics include:

– The recently passed Fiscal Year 2018 budget.
– The opening of the Klingle Valley hiker/biker trail.
– What is the Council doing to help Metro? How can we find more dollars for public transportation?
– What can the DC Council do to support the Paris Climate Agreement?
– What are his plans and vision looking forward?

Our goal is to have a frank conversation with Phil and try and develop new ways to work together to achieve our shared objectives.

When Phil Mendelson first came on the DC Council he was one of the few elected officials we could count on to represent the interests of our communities and the environment. Among many accomplishments, Phil helped create the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and fought to establish strong targets for deploying solar energy. He worked hard in defense of our rivers, parks, and open space, and was a leader in the multi-year campaign to save Klingle Valley.

Recently the environmental community found ourselves at odds with Chairman Mendelson’s decision to sweep Renewable Energy Development Funds (REDF) from the Mayor’s budget. Our community eventually convinced the Council to restore some of these important resources for solar energy programs. We hope to talk a bit about how we can avoid these kinds of sweeps in future budget seasons.

Our agenda is simple. Phil will make opening remarks and we will then open the discussion to the floor. That would be you!

Come take advantage of this opportunity to network with Phil and DC focused sustainability advocates! RSVP here!

Hope to see you on the 25th!

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