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Joining E2 is the most effective way to stay informed about cutting-edge environmental issues, leverage your professional network, and use your skills to influence important environmental policy issues.

Join Now E2 is a partner of NRDC
Business Voice for the Environment
May 28, 2009
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Calendar
Thursday, November 6, 2014 (3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern)
TeleSalon read more >

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Meeting read more >

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 (6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Pacific)
SpecialEvent read more >

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news
- New group to represent business perspective on Transportation Bill
- Growing Green awards given to three leaders
- NRDC Report shows 20% reduction is achievable
- Research suggests alternative thinking, phrasing
- Ruling expands list of harmful substances
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  issue
- Meets with almost half of the legislature!
- Winning friends and influencing people in unexpected places
- E2 state work reaches national level
- eWaste, climate and water are priotities for Albany advocacy
- Boston May 8 event focuses on Waxman-Markey bill
- Energy Advocacy and Boulder Social
- RFK, Jr. on Mountaintop removal, Fight to protect Appalachia
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  Our May 12th team consisted of Ann Notthoff, NRDC; Rick DeGolia; April Mo, NRDC; John Cheney, Meera Balakumar; our lunch speaker Senator Joe Simitian; Bob Epstein, Steve Chadima, David Cheng; Maureen Blanc; Bill Unger, Tony Bernhardt, Brian Rouch and Victoria Rome, NRDC.
On May 12 and 13, E2 members traveled to Sacramento to meet with 57 of the 120 members of the California legislature and the leaders of three state agencies. Our message focused on the economic benefits of existing and proposed state policies in climate, renewable electricity, water efficiency and marine protected areas. For a summary of the information we presented, see “Sacramento summary”.

E2 has been active in California environmental policies since 2001 when we worked with then freshman Assembly Member Fran Pavley to help pass the Clean Cars bill - AB 1493 (see President Obama Announces a Historic Vehicle Policy).

The backdrop to our meetings was California’s growing budget deficit due to both revenues being below the forecast of just three months ago and the expected voter rejection of the May 19 ballot measures. In every meeting legislators were interested in policies that would create new jobs but many had specific questions about how policies would affect their districts.

California Cleantech Leads the Nation

Concurrent with our meetings, we released our E2 report: How California policy can accelerate economic growth and job generation through the cleantech sector. The report documents venture capital investments in California cleantech companies and the role of public policy. California companies received over $3.3B of a total $5.9B invested in North America in 2008. Cleantech is not immune to the economic slowdown, as venture capital has dropped significantly in the last two quarters. E2 argued that new industries – such as those represented by cleantech would be a significant part of the economic recovery and the future of California.

Renewable Electricity
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  Our May 13th team consisted of Ann Notthoff, NRDC; John Cheney, Laura Shenkar; Virgil Welch, CARB; Mary Yang; our lunch speaker Karen Douglas, Chair CEC; Bob Epstein, Rick Degolia, Nicole Lederer, Chris Vargas, Tony Bernhardt, Anthony Eggert, CARB; our lunch speaker Mary Nichols, Chair CARB and Victoria Rome, NRDC. Not pictured: Lee Stein.


Bills are advancing in both the Assembly and Senate that will move California to 33% renewable electricity by 2020. E2 is supporting SB 14 (Simitian) and AB 64 (Krekorian). Both bills would achieve the 33% goal and the expectation is that the bills will eventually be merged into a single bill. California’s climate plans is counting on 21 million metric tons reduction of CO2 (13% of the required 174) coming from renewable electricity. The legislators generally support the goal but several had specific implementation questions. Some of the feedback we heard included (1) what is the cost to rate payers, (2) will some percentage of out of state renewable generation be allowed, (3) how will increased transmission be included? As the bills progress, E2 is particularly focused on the positive cost/benefit of renewables on electricity rates and on the rapid deployment of renewables that do not require new transmission infrastructure.

Water Efficiency

Water efficiency requirements are being considered this year in a bill (AB 49 by Feuer & Huffman) that is similar to last year’s efforts - AB 2175 (Laird and Feuer). We delivered a copy of the E2 support letter for AB 49 signed by 192 members of the E2 community. This bill shifts water conservation from a voluntary program and establishes water conservation as a foundational component of water management in California. AB 49 requires increased water use efficiency for both urban and agricultural users by setting per capita reduction targets of 20% by 2020 for urban use and requiring best management practices for agricultural water use but no specific reduction requirement.
"I’d be happy to continue working on AB 49. I have a personal interest in making sure CA doesn’t run out of water in my lifetime!" – David Cheng
Most legislators with agriculture in their districts said that agriculture was already efficient. There was general support from legislators from urban districts. Since agriculture uses 80% of water delivered in the state, it needs to be part of the solution.

Another water efficiency bill by Senator Wolk (SB 460) shares some common elements with AB 49 but has weaker targets and no consequences for failing to meet reduction plans. Several legislators encouraged E2 to work with Senator Wolk’s office to help merge her bill into AB 49.

Marine Life Protection Act
"We left a good impression that will be remembered after the budget crisis passes and we get back to work on the energy and water transformations that California and the country needs." – Tony Bernhardt


For the last decade, California has been implementing the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) which creates a network of marine protected areas with the goal of enhancing the productivity of the ocean (See E2’s MLPA campaign page). The North Central Coast is the most recent area under design, with the North and South Coasts following later this year. Prior to our trip, we asked our membership to endorse our support letter for the “integrated preferred alternative” which achieves a careful balance among a broad array of interests. If adopted as is or strengthened, the IPA will be a worthwhile compromise - one that protects nursery habitats and centers of productivity with minimal short-term impact on fishing or other activities. While the decision rests in the hands of the California Fish and Game Commission, we mentioned MLPA implementation to legislators who serve on the budget committee or oversee the Fish and Game commission to make sure the MLPA is supported through the budget process.

Expanding E2’s Influence
"Our team met with staffers at two Republican offices that were interested in hearing more from E2 in order to begin a stronger relationship. AB49 offers a chance for us to follow up."  – Laura Shenkar

"I am convinced that both sides of the aisle in Sacramento are serious about continuing to push California’s leadership on environmental solutions." – Bill Unger


One way to measure the influence of E2 in California is to look at legislators’ receptivity to meeting with us. Of the 65 meetings we requested, 53 meetings were accepted – which fully booked our three teams on each day. Due to term limits in California, we are constantly establishing new relationships and reconnecting with old ones where members are elected to the other House. For example, there is no one left in the Assembly that was there when we first started working in Sacramento.

There may be some encouraging news in our efforts to get more bi-partisan support for environmental/economic policies. While we try to earn bi-partisan support in all of our efforts, on major legislative efforts in the past, it has been difficult to get even one or two Republican votes. This year we developed specific strategies for our meetings with Republican members.

We focused these meeting on economic opportunities for California, discussing economic development and ways to encourage competition. We met with a broad group of Republican members – 7 from the Assembly and 6 from the Senate. Many of them are members of E3, the Republican Task Force on the Environment, Energy and the Economy that was recently created. E3 is chaired by Assembly Member Sam Blakeslee - who becomes the Minority Leader on June 1 and is someone we have worked with in the past. The stated goal of E3 is “to advance common-sense policies that will help protect California’s environment, while at the same time growing the economy and creating jobs.” Since the E3 mission is nearly identical to our own, E2 sees an opportunity for more bi-partisan collaboration and will be following up to see if we can help change some of the dynamics in Sacramento.

Next Steps
"It was really great to participate with other E2 members who used their collective voice and leveraged their hard-earned business expertise to champion the environment and economic growth. This is what E2 is all about!" – Maureen Blanc


Our goals for this year are to help pass strong renewable electricity and water efficiency standards, to advance the Marine Life Protection Act, to continue the implementation of AB 32 and to protect policies that are growing our economy from becoming victim of the budget decisions yet to be made.

To accomplish this we will continue to look for E2 members interested in assisting in Sacramento and willing to work on analysis. In particular we need to show the cost-effectiveness of renewables. If you are interested in our California Advocacy efforts, please contact Christine Luong (cluong@nrdc.org / 415.875.6100).

We wish to thank the E2 members who represented E2 so effectively in Sacramento (their names are listed under the photos in this article).

E2 Gratefully acknowledges the following administrators, legislators and staff who met with us:

Assembly Members Senate Members
Tom Ammiano (D - San Francisco) Elaine Alquist (D – Santa Clara) (staff)
Juan Arambula (D - Fresno) (staff) Roy Ashburn (R - Bakersfield) (staff)
Karen Bass (D - Los Angeles) (staff) Ellen Corbett (D - San Leandro) (staff)
Bill Berryhill (R - Stockton) Dave Cox (R - Fair Oaks)
Tom Berryhill (R - Modesto) (staff) Mark DeSaulnier (D – Antioch)
Sam Blakeslee (R - San Luis Obispo) (staff) Denise Moreno Ducheny (D - San Diego) (staff)
Robert Blumenfield (D - Van Nuys) Loni Hancock (D - Berkeley)
Julia Brownley (D - Santa Monica) Dennis Hollingsworth (R - Murrieta) (staff)
Joan Buchanan (D - San Ramon) (staff) Christine Kehoe (D - San Diego)
Anna Marie Caballero (D - Salinas) (staff) Mark Leno (D – San Francisco)
Wilmer Amina Carter (D - Rialto) Carol Liu (D - Pasadena) (staff)
Wesley Chesbro (D - Eureka) Alan Lowenthal (D – Long Beach)
Kevin de León (D - Los Angeles) (staff) Abel Maldonado (R - Santa Maria)
Mike Duvall (R - Brea) Alex Padilla (D - Pacoima)
Bill Emmerson (R - Redlands) Fran Pavley (D - Santa Monica)
Mike Eng (D - Monterey Park) (staff) Joe Simitian (D - Palo Alto)
Mike Feuer (D - Los Angeles) Darrell Steinberg (D - Sacramento) (staff)
Paul Fong (D - Mountain View) Tony Strickland (R - Thousand Oaks)
Felipe Fuentes (D – Los Angeles) Patricia Wiggins (D – Santa Rosa) (staff)
Jerry Hill (D – South San Francisco) Lois Wolk (D - Linden) (staff)
Alyson Huber (D - Lodi) (staff)  
Jared Huffman (D - San Rafael) Administration
Paul Krekorian (D - Burbank) Mike Chrisman - Secretary, Natural Resources
Bonnie Lowenthal (D - Long Beach) Karen Douglas - Chair, California Energy Commission
Fiona Ma (D - San Francisco) (staff) Mary Nichols - Chair, Air Resources Board
Bill Monning (D - Santa Cruz)  
Pedro Nava (D - Santa Barbara) (staff)
John Pérez (D - Los Angeles) (staff)
V. Manuel Pérez (D – Cathedral City) (staff)
Ira Ruskin (D - Redwood City)
Mary Salas (D - Chula Vista) (staff)
Nancy Skinner (D – Berkeley)
Cameron Smyth (R - Santa Clarita) (staff)
Sandré Swanson (D - Oakland) (staff)
Alberto Torrico (D - Fremont) (staff)
Michael Villines (R – Clovis) (staff)
Mariko Yamada (D - Davis) (staff)
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Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee took a historic step toward America’s clean energy future that will create jobs, cut our dependence on oil, and reduce the carbon pollution that causes global warming. By a 33-25 vote, the Committee passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, HR 2454, known as the Waxman-Markey Bill. It places an economy-wide cap on carbon pollution that will reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050; requires utilities to generate about a fifth of all energy from renewable sources by 2020; invests in energy efficiency, cleaner vehicles, and carbon capture technology; and much, much more. A summary of the bill and related activity can be found at the NRDC blog.

The bill was the subject of intense lobbying on both sides of the issue. Passage in the Committee came down to convincing eleven undecided members mainly from the South and the Midwest. E2 worked long and hard along with many other organizations to pass this bill out of the Energy and Commerce Committee, so that it can proceed to consideration by the full House.

This year’s E2 Washington advocacy team boasted business interests in at least 39 different states and many different fields. When we met with key legislators in DC in late April we were able to speak with authority about clean energy opportunities in their districts. In the last week before Memorial Day weekend E2 also sent out an ‘Urgent Alert’ asking members and supporters if they had any connections whatsoever with the swing Representatives, their staffs or their districts.

The "6 degrees of separation" method worked. We found E2ers with business interests, friends, relatives, and 2nd homes in these districts; several E2 members had a personal connection to a member. In fact, E2 was able to reach 10 of the 11 swing voters via one or more constituents in their district. 
  
Through this process we presented our views, gained intelligence, and developed relationships. One Congressman told an E2 member who was an old friend that he wanted to vote for the bill, but feared it would hurt him politically. However, he added that if his vote made the difference, he would “do the courageous thing.” He did. 

An E2 member’s friend in a swing district wrote to his Congressman: “[I am] your constituent, Plastic Surgeon, and friend of your brother asking you to support the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill.

An E2 member’s business associate -- whose company is in a swing district -- wrote back to us, “I spoke with the Congressman and his staff member. The conversation went very well. I sent him a brief of our major points. The Congressman finds himself in a difficult position, but wants to help!

Another E2 member wrote, “I met with this legislator recently and have direct business interests, including a regional office and employees in the district. I will be in DC next Tuesday and can hand deliver a letter if that helps.

When the votes were tallied, all but three of the eleven swing voters on the Committee cast their vote in favor of the Bill. The battle has just begun; but this is a very good first step. The bill will now be considered by other house committees – including Ways and Means and the Agriculture committees before going to the floor for a full vote. 
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  President Obama thanking California Senator Pavley for her efforts.
On May 19 President Obama announced new national standards for automobile fuel economy and national greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. The California Clean Cars regulation (AB 1493 – Pavley) was the basis for the federal plan. 14 other states had adopted the regulation before President Obama extended it to all 50 states. Starting in model year 2012, the new national standards will mandate cleaner, more efficient vehicles that will cut pollution and save drivers money at the pump. California is also expected to receive its waiver from the federal government this summer.

It is particularly gratifying because this was the first policy E2 took on as a fledgling organization in the fall of 2001. We met with freshman Assembly Member Fran Pavley; she described her bill – AB 1493; and the rest is history (you can read about it on our advocacy page).

Following the legislation was a three-year effort to establish the regulations that reduce tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions and then an application for a standard “waiver” as required by the federal Clean Air Act was filed. Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington adopted the California regulations, with Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, and Utah considering it.

The auto industry group unsuccessfully sued and failed to show that it could not meet the California clean car standards, despite appealing the decisions. The Bush Administration delayed and then denied the waiver in 2007. In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the gases that cause global warming are pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The court also found that the U.S. government has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases. Earlier this year, President Obama directed the EPA to reconsider the waiver, and removed a major hurdle for more fuel-efficient cars.

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The people in the photo played a major role in getting to this day. From left to right: Roland Hwang directs NRDC’s vehicle policy efforts, Senator Fran Pavley, NRDC President Frances Beinecke, California Air Resource Board Chair Mary Nichols guided the efforts over the last two years and David Doniger oversaw the legal defense for NRDC. Not pictured are the many E2 members who have worked on the bill over the last 7 years and helped to get these people onto the White House lawn!
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On May 13, E2 members and guests gathered for cocktails and a preview of E2’s priorities for its upcoming Albany advocacy trip in June. The social event was generously hosted by E2 Chapter Leader Chris Arndt and his wife Patty at their apartment near Union Square. The evening gave long-time members, as well as new members and guests, a chance to meet, catch up and learn more about E2’s work. Attendees also had a chance to hear from New York City Councilman Bill de Blasio, who updated the group on NYC’s electronic waste recycling bill, which he co-sponsored and was passed by the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg last year with help from E2 and NRDC. According to the councilman, manufacturers who sell electronic equipment in NYC must submit plans to the NYC Department of Sanitation by this summer, and starting late 2009, New Yorkers will be able to return used electronics to the manufacturer for recycling. After July 1, 2010, it will be illegal to discard these items in the trash.

Rich Schrader, NRDC New York Legislative Director, and Kate Sinding, NRDC Senior Attorney, briefly discussed the priorities for E2’s Albany trip, which includes a state-wide version of NYC’s electronic waste recycling bill, a global warming pollution control bill and a water withdrawal permit bill.

E2 New York’s first social gathering was a success and we look forward to scheduling more such events in the future. Thanks go to Chris and Patty Arndt for hosting this social.
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  From Left: Ashok Gupta (NRDC), Rep. Jerry McNerney, Rep. Michael Capuano, Berl Hartman
On May 8, New England members and guests gathered for an E2 event, “Energy and Climate: Can We Meet the Challenge?” that featured Congressman Mike Capuano (D-MA), Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Ashok Gupta, Senior Economist and Director of NRDC’s Air and Energy Program. Ashok began by recapping the status of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, known as the Waxman-Markey climate bill, that is making its way through Congress. He emphasized how critical it is that the House Energy Committee passes the strongest possible bill in the next two weeks and set a good benchmark for the Senate in the next round. In addition to the cap-and-trade component of the bill, Ashok stressed how critical it is to keep intact the package of complimentary policies for energy efficiency, renewables and sustainable transportation that will help meet our goals of curbing global warming emissions and growing the economy.

Congressman McNerney, a wind power entrepreneur before his stunning defeat of long-time California Congressman Richard Pombo (R) in 2006, is a member of the House Energy & Commerce subcommittee tasked with writing the Waxman-Markey bill and getting it to the House floor for a vote. He is proud of several critical components of the bill, including provisions to create a smart grid system, to prepare utilities for hybrid vehicles and to educate the public on cleantech development and jobs.

Congressman Capuano believes the Waxman-Markey bill is the biggest bill that this Congress will face during this session. Capuano notes that the bill will almost certainly be weakened via amendments that are added as it makes it way through both chambers, but he agreed with that we must pass the strongest bill possible. Both congressmen concurred that the stakes couldn’t be higher for climate this year and that capping carbon emissions is where we need to go as a nation and as a people.

E2 thanks Foley Hoag LLP for generously hosting this event in Boston.
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E2 Rocky Mountains (E2 Rox) sent action alerts to members last month regarding two bills: HB1126 and HB1323. Since the last newsletter, HB 1126 passed both the State House and Senate, and was signed by Governor Bill Ritter.  HB1126 (Encourage Solar Thermal Installations) allows local governments to provide the same incentives for solar thermal installations as may now be provided for solar electric installations. The bill adds a corresponding exemption from state sales and use tax.   Thank you to all our members who made calls, signed a letter, or sent an email about this bill.  Your efforts made a direct impact on its passing.

The second bill that E2 Rox supported was laid over indefinitely, and therefore, effectively killed on the House floor.  HB1323 (Coop Electric Association Energy Efficiency Program) directed cooperative electric associations serving 100,000 or more customers to engage in conservation and energy efficiency programs and to save an amount of electricity equal to 2% of 2008 sales by 2012, 5% of 2008 sales by 2015, and 10% of 2008 sales by 2020, which savings would be a result of conservation and energy efficiency programs implemented starting in 2009.

Chapter Leader Andrew Currie and a team of E2 members met with staff members in US Senator Michael Bennet’s office this month, including District Director Rosemary Rodriguez and Community Liaison, Energy and Natural Resources, Zane Kessler.  The meeting was successful in establishing a relationship with the Senator’s office and exploring how E2 Rox may be helpful to the Senator and his staff.

E2 members are scheduled to meet with District Director Chris Arend in Representative Diana DeGette’s office at the end of May.  E2 Rox continues to schedule meetings with Colorado public officials.  If you are an E2 member and are interested in attending these meetings to represent E2 and the independent business voice for the environment, please email us at E2RockyMountains@gmail.com or 303-902-4525

E2 Rox held a social networking event for E2 members and Colorado public officials and their staff on May 14th.  The event proved a successful opportunity to meet some faces of E2 Rox and network with other members and public officials’ staff.
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From left: Jim Higgins, Jill Higgins E2 Southern California Co-founder, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Parker Higgins. Photo by Lisa Whiteman  
On May 20, E2 members and guests gathered at Tesla Motors showroom for an E2 EcoSalon,  “Appalachian Apocalypse.”  This special event featured NRDC Senior Scientist Dr. Allen Hershkowitz and NRDC Senior Attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. 

Mountaintop removal mining, one of the most ecologically destructive energy practices, has resulted in the leveling of nearly 500 Appalachian summits.  Every week, coal companies blast 2,500 tons of explosives, the equivalent of a Hiroshima bomb, to access the coal seams beneath the Appalachian mountaintops. Dr. Hershkowitz discussed NRDC’s efforts in the Cumberland Plateau region working with local groups to provide legal and technical support to stop mountaintop removal mining.  This region is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world and requires protection from this form of wasteful exploitation.

Following Allen’s presentation, Bobby Kennedy gave a passionate speech about his personal experiences in Appalachia, where he has witnessed mountaintop removal mining firsthand.  Calling it the greatest environmental tragedy to ever befall our nation, he noted that mountaintop removal mining has destroyed or polluted more than 1,200 Appalachian rivers, while providing far fewer jobs than does traditional underground mining.  However, he inspired the group by pointing out that our country has the ability to completely wean itself from dirty energy sources through renewables and energy efficiency.  He also gave numerous examples of entrepreneurs leading the way to move America towards a new energy economy.

E2 would like to thank Elon Musk and Tesla Motors for their generosity in hosting the event in their beautiful showroom. 
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One of the most far-reaching pieces of national legislation, the federal surface transportation program, is up for reauthorization this fall and NRDC is launching a new group to help advocate a forward-thinking, low-carbon transportation system that has benefits for the environment and for business.  The Transportation for Business Network (T4B) will connect businesses and business leaders that support transportation policy reform with the decision-makers who need to hear their perspective.

“The Transportation Bill,” as it is commonly known, will likely allocate between $50 billion and $100 billion per year for transportation infrastructure.  The transportation sector is our second largest, and fastest growing, source of greenhouse gas emissions. More efficient vehicles and fuels will be important parts of the solution—but target reductions won’t be reached without also addressing vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and this bill will function as the national DNA of our transportation infrastructure, determining our overall capacity to reduce driving. A more efficient transportation system would involve developing our capacity for intercity rail, as well as a variety of intracity modes (light rail, BRT, traditional bus, bicycle, and pedestrian). Numerous benefits for business include decreasing road congestion, developing freight rail capacity, improving access to jobs and stores, increasing household disposable income through lowered transportation costs and perhaps most importantly, choosing our national transportation investments more deliberately. 

A strong, unified business voice for improved transportation will be enormously compelling. E2 members are especially invited to become involved with the group. For information, visit the T4B website or contact Christine Luong (cluong@nrdc.org / 415.875.6100). For more on the history and context of federal transportation policy and the transportation bill, see the E2 March 2009 Update.
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  From Left: Bob Epstein, Fedele Bauccio, Wendy Schmidt, Michael Pollan, Jamie Harvie
On Saturday, May 9, NRDC’s San Francisco benefit celebrated Food for Thought honoring award-winning food author and journalist Michael Pollan and the recipients of NRDC’s inaugural Growing Green Awards.  Held at the California Academy of Sciences, the largest Platinum-rated public building in the world, more than 350 NRDC and E2 supporters were on hand to enjoy a menu of local, sustainable fare (and compete for the highest score to show how well you “Know Your Food” – a special game designed by NRDC Trustee Wendy Schmidt and the 11th Hour Project).

In his remarks, Michael Pollan highlighted the critical impacts of sustainable food and agriculture. E2 Co-Founder and NRDC Trustee Bob Epstein presented Growing Green Awards to Fedele Bauccio and Jamie Harvie for their innovative initiatives as Business Leader and Thought Leader, respectively.  Will Allen, who was unable to attend, was this year’s Growing Green Award winner in the Food Producer category.

The evening was chaired by Bob Epstein and Amy Roth, Bob and Randi Fisher, Nicole Lederer and Larry Orr, Robert Redford and Sibylle Szaggars, Christine Russell and Mark Schlesinger, Wendy and Eric Schmidt, and Kirby Walker and Paul Danielsen.

Many thanks to the E2 members who supported this event.
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As California enters its third successive dry year, a new report from NRDC’s Western Water Project outlines the opportunities that the state’s commercial, industrial and institutional (CII) sector has at its disposal to save more water annually than is required by the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco combined. The May 26 report, Making Every Drop Work, focuses on the staggering water and energy savings associated with making the transition to more efficient technologies, which average a payback range of one to four years. In February of 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger called for a 20% reduction per capita water use by 2020, but California could easily outperform that goal, according to NRDC’s Director of Water Efficiency Policy, Ronnie Cohen.  The report also highlights trailblazing businesses, from technology companies to wine makers, which have profited greatly through dramatically-improved water efficiency.
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An April 2009 report co-sponsored by NRDC, “Climate and Energy Truths: Our Common Future,” has found a great need to alter messaging around environmental topics. After conducting research that included focus groups, online surveys and telephone surveys of registered voters nationwide, ecoAmerica – which will be publicizing the report later this month – has found that using “green code” to communicate with the broader community will get environmentalists nowhere.

Other key findings include: it is time to drop the term “the environment” and talk about “the air we breathe, the water our children drink”; messaging on energy and climate change is stronger when values-oriented language such as “independence” and “freedom” is used; climate change could be better spoken of as “deteriorating atmosphere”; it is better to defend clean, safe energy than to debate specific technologies one at a time; and there should not be a differentiation between multiple forms of pollution. Opponents of legislation to combat global warming are engaged in a similar effort. According to The New York Times, they are trying to head off such legislation by “coaching Republicans to refer to any such system as a giant tax that would kill jobs.” Copies of the ecoAmerica report can by requested by contacting kara@ecoAmerica.org.
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An April 30 ruling by the Alameda Superior Court found that California’s landmark “right-to-know” and safe drinking water law, Proposition 65, must encompass toxic chemicals identified under worker protection standards. The decision sided with labor and environmental groups, including NRDC, that brought the case against the California Chamber of Commerce. For several years, the state has failed to update the list of chemicals that warns consumers of potential harm, omitting a number of carcinogens and reproductive toxins already subject to workplace warning requirements. More than 90 additional chemicals are now at issue, including ingredients of various plastic products, gasoline additives and common garden pesticides. NRDC Senior Attorney Michael Wall was instrumental in this victory for public health.
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