New England 2010-2011
Federal Activity 2010
| ||U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), third from left, with (from left) E2 Members Berl Hartman, Paul Sellew, Heather Henriksen, Tedd Saunders and Chris Kaneb. (Click on image for larger version).|
E2 New England’s role in the federal policy landscape took on added significance in 2010 with the election of Massachusetts’ Republican Senator Scott Brown and with Maine Senators Snowe and Collins considered possible swings voters on environmental issues.
E2 established a relationship with Senator Brown early in his tenure and met with the Senator 4 or 5 times during the year. The discussions centered on the importance of clean energy to the state’s economy and the need for a comprehensive federal climate and energy bill.
At our most recent meeting with the Senator, he commented that he believes there are 20 moderate Senators from both parties that could come together in the new Congress in support of a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) or a Clean Energy Standard (CES). We shall continue to pursue a responsible renewable energy bill with Senator Brown in the coming year.
In May, as the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act was introduced, E2 New England embarked on the first E2 regionally focused federal advocacy trip. The E2 group, which included members with business interest in Maine and Massachusetts, traveled to Washington DC to meet with Senators Brown and Collins and a representative from Senator Snowe’s office.
State and Regional Activity 2010
E2 New England played an important role at the state and regional levels during 2010, focusing on issues pertaining to energy, oceans, and climate change.
E2 New England participated in hearings, wrote letters and made calls on behalf of Cape Wind, the embattled wind farm project in Nantucket Sound. The project passed a significant milestone this year by clearing all of its regulatory hurdles and signing a purchase agreement with National Grid. However, it still faces a storm of protests and law suits from opponents. (Click on the links to view letters to Secretary Mark Marini
of the Department of Public Utilities and James F. Bennett
of the Minerals Management Service).
E2 also weighed in on a related issue, Wind Siting Reform in Massachusetts. In May 2010, E2 New England members met with Massachusetts Speaker of the House DeLeo and with Representative Charles Murphy, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to advocate for the bill. Despite passage of the bill by both houses of the legislature, the final version failed to win approval and will need to be re-introduced in the upcoming session of the legislature. (See the E2 Wind Siting Reform letter of support
Oceans and sustainable fishing continued to be major issues for the New England Chapter. After testifying at the National Oceans Task Force meeting, E2 New England met with Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island to support his efforts on behalf of the National Endowment for the Oceans Act. E2 also strongly supported maintaining the newly implemented tighter limits on the local ground fishery and new regulations to strengthen controls in the herring fishery. (Click on the links to see the national letter to President Barack Obama
and the E2 New England letter to Senator Brown
in support of the National Endowment for the Oceans, the letter to Paul Howard of the New England Fishery Management Council
in support of Amendment 5 to the New England Herring Fisheries Management Plan, and the letter to Governor Deval Patrick
urging him to reconsider his request for emergency action that would undermine progress in the New England groundfishery).
At the regional level, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Northeast and mid-Atlantic Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS) were major areas of focus. RGGI will be up for review during the coming year and may face an attack from newly elected officials in New Hampshire, Maine and New Jersey. E2 weighed in
as a RGGI stakeholder and will no doubt continue its strong support for this program.
On the issue of climate change, E2 anxiously awaits Massachusetts’ Secretary Ian Bowles’ decision on the GHG emissions target for 2020. By law, it must be set at a level that is 10% to 25% lower than 1990 levels, with the exact amount to be determined by January 1, 2011. An independent study showed that the state could achieve an 18% reduction simply by implementing laws and regulations already on the books and could cost-effectively achieve a 35% reduction. As a member of the Governor’s Global Warming Advisory Committee, E2 Director Berl Hartman has participated in the discussions of the policies required to meet these aggressive goals.
Priorities for 2011
| ||Transportation will continue to be a focus of the New England chapter in 2011.|
Many of the 2010 initiatives will continue to be priorities in the coming year, especially those focused on climate and energy, transportation, and oceans and sustainable fishing.
At the federal level, we will continue to leverage our relationships with New England senators to support EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, promote clean energy incentives and standards, and implement the new comprehensive ocean management plan.
At the regional level, we will advocate for measures to sustain RGGI’s economic benefits and ensure that the program survives as the nation’s first fully functional market-based system to control global warming pollution. We would also like to improve RGGI by tightening the emissions cap, extending its coverage, and linking with other regions of the country.
This year we also hope to see progress on a Low Carbon Fuel Standard that would provide a technology-neutral method to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Eleven Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States are participating in formulating the standard.
At the state level, Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick continues to be a strong supporter of clean energy and environmentally responsible policies. We will work with Rick Sullivan, the new Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), to fully implement the necessary measures to achieve the highest level of greenhouse gas reductions possible. Transportation, which is the fastest growing source of emissions and closely related to smart growth and land-use policy, will become one of our primary areas of focus.
In addition, we will continue our support for Wind Siting Reform, Cape Wind, and additional energy efficiency measures.
Oceans and sustainable fishing will continue to be priorities for the New England chapter. We must ensure that the tighter limits and new management plans specified in the Magnuson-Stevens Act are fully implemented in New England. New York 2010-2011
Federal, Regional and State Activity 2010
In 2010, E2 New York gained victories on several of our longstanding priorities and made progress on others.
In March, after three years of advocacy by E2 and other groups, New York finally passed the nation’s most progressive electronic recycling law. New York joined 22 other states in mandating that manufacturers bear the responsibility for taking back their used electronics from consumers. Many electronics contain significant toxins requiring responsible recycling. Passage of the measure also effectively negates a nearly year-old industry lawsuit challenging New York City's 2008 e-waste recycling law
, that E2 helped to pass.
Early this month, Governor Paterson issued an Executive Order (EO) to formally establish a six-month moratorium on any new drilling in the Marcellus Shale using the controversial technology of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” The EO also calls for a new environmental impact statement on fracking in upstate New York to adequately examine the risks and ensure safeguards. The Executive Order, however, is not as strong as legislation passed overwhelmingly by both houses of the Legislature (and supported by E2
), because, for one, it applies to the drilling only of horizontal wells, and not of vertical wells, which are just as problematic. (See Kate Sinding’s blog
for more details about the EO). This has been a priority for E2 in the past two years and we will continue to monitor its developments in the coming year. E2 may have an opportunity to weigh-in as we look toward the new Governor to close the loophole on vertical drilling in order to fully protect New Yorkers against the serious harms of new gas production using fracking.
Priorities for 2011
In addition to hydraulic fracking, we will continue to work on priorities from 2010 such as defending the Environmental Protection Fund
from getting raided by budget cuts. At the federal level we will be reengaging our opponents over our green taxi campaign, whose successes have recently come under attack. Regionally, we will focus on establishing an agreement on low carbon fuels. Within the state we look to continue working on a comprehensive solar energy bill, which passed the Assembly last session but ultimately failed in the Senate. Green Taxis
In 2005, E2 New York played an instrumental role in getting hybrid yellow taxis on the streets of New York City. And five years later, hybrids make up roughly 30% of the city’s total fleet. But a recent federal ruling could block efforts to encourage the use of hybrid cabs and other clean vehicles – including electric cars - in New York and other cities. To address this troubling new development, E2 will reengage in the clean cab battle in three ways:
Low Carbon Fuel Standard
- Work with NRDC experts to draft new federal legislation that will “overturn” the federal ruling in Congress, and clearly authorize localities to boost clean taxi and car fleets through financial and other incentive programs.
- Assist NRDC lawyers in their efforts to help reverse this federal ruling through ongoing litigation -- potentially before the U.S. Supreme Court. Indeed, the courts struck down the City’s prior incentive program based in part on economic arguments, so E2’s expertise and support could be very beneficial to these legal efforts.
- Help, in concert with NRDC, to more broadly build a clean taxi and clean vehicle constituency in New York that currently does not exist and that could be critical for future initiatives, including the city’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” program.
E2 will work on establishing a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS). The LCSF is a transportation regulatory incentive program that seeks to reduce our dependence on oil and increasing our use of more sustainable, low-carbon alternatives for transportation. New York State is participating in a regional effort with 10 other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to establish a regional LCFS that is modeled on an existing program in California
The LCFS is a performance standard that requires the transportation fuel pool to have a lower average carbon intensity (or fuels that emit less carbon per unit of energy) over time. Low carbon fuels include advanced biofuels and electricity used in cars. Importantly, the LCFS also discourages greater reliance on dirty, high-carbon fuels such as Canadian tar sands. The California target is a 10 percent reduction by 2020. State agencies are currently working to finalize a regulatory policy framework by early 2011 that can then be a template for adoption within the states, following a process similar to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Solar Energy and Jobs Bill
The Solar Industry Development and Job Act establishes a program to develop over 5-Gigawatts of solar energy in NY by 2025. The measure lays out the necessary framework to attract solar investment, and ensures development of diverse market segments, from small residential installations to large utility-scale solar farms. The structure is based on successful models in other states, yet allows for the flexibility necessary to fit New York's regulatory structure.
According to a report released by Vote Solar with contributing support from NRDC, this measure will create 22,000 new jobs and more than $20 billion in new economic activity by 2025. Although the bill overwhelmingly passed out of the Assembly Energy Committee last year, it did not get enough Senate support to move any further. Governor-elect Cuomo has included the bill in his energy & environment plans so we are hopeful that we can make progress in 2011. (See the E2 letter
in support of the Solar Energy and Jobs Bill). Rocky Mountains 2010-2011
Federal, Regional and State Activity 2010
| ||E2 Members gathered on June 2, 2010 to celebrate E2's 10th Anniversary. (Click here to enlarge image)|
Over the past few years, E2 has worked closely with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who is credited with coining the phrase “New Energy Economy.” He came into office with a vision and strategy to grow the state’s economy by focusing on policies and laws to support renewable and clean energy research, development, financing, and transmission, and since 2007, Governor Ritter has signed 57 New Energy Economy bills into law
. Building on this work in 2010, E2 Rocky Mountains played an active and strategic role in
- passing several clean energy and environment protection laws including increasing Colorado’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from 20 to 30 percent by 2030
- expanding the state’s Clean Energy Development Authority’s financing authority to include commercial loan agreements
- creating a statewide property assessed clean energy program
- establishing a green jobs training grant program, and
- retiring 900 megawatts of coal-fired power in the Denver-Metropolitan area by 2018.
In 2010, E2 Rocky Mountains also lobbied the U.S. Senate to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, asked Senator Mark Udall to strengthen protections for public lands from onshore oil and gas production, and worked with Senator Michael Bennet’s Colorado and D.C. office to adopt legislation to direct mortgage underwriters to take into account energy costs when determining mortgage payments.
In addition to our advocacy work, E2 Rocky Mountains held three successful events in 2010: an EcoSalon in Denver
on the policy and science implications of the 2009 Climate Conference in Copenhagen, a cocktail party
in Boulder celebrating E2’s 10th Anniversary with E2 Founder, Bob Epstein, and back to back events
in Boulder and Loveland with special guest, David Goldstein, NRDC’s Energy Program Director, on how to use energy efficiency to resuscitate the economy.
Priorities for 2011
Moving forward in 2011, E2 Rocky Mountains will focus on energy efficiency programs and policies for the business and commercial sectors, smart water-use policies, and possibly an e-waste recycling bill. We will also continue our work with Senator Michael Bennet’s office to develop federal legislation that will take into account energy efficiency in the mortgage underwriting process, support Congressman Jared Polis on his efforts to designate portions of Eagle and Summit County as federal wilderness areas, and reach out to Congressman-elect Cory Gardner on supporting renewable energy financing and development.
One advantage of the Rocky Mountains chapter is that tourism, the ski industry, outdoor recreation (including hunting and fishing), and energy development make up a large part of Colorado’s economy, and there is general consensus among state residents and business leaders that protecting our environment and natural resources is fundamental to sustaining our economy and way of life. Part of our strategy for 2011 is to:
- focus our chapter member meetings on strategic advocacy planning
- use our public events and EcoSalons to bring attention to the phenomenal policy and science work of NRDC while showcasing the collective results of E2’s advocacy work
- develop stronger partnerships and working relationships with established business and conservation groups so that we are adding to and strengthening, not duplicating, existing work, and
- find a way to harness the energy of the MBA students who have demonstrated a great deal of interest in our organization and the work that we are doing, so that we are influencing and supporting the next generation of business leaders to be thoughtful and creative when examining the nexus of business development, economic growth, and the natural and built environment.
Pacific Northwest 2010-2011
Federal, Regional and State Activity 2010
The Pacific Northwest chapter of E2 (E2-NW) continued to build momentum throughout 2010, holding a series of events including inaugural EcoSalons
in Seattle and Portland, sending an intrepid delegate with E2's legendary "Snowmageddon
" mission to Capitol Hill, building bridges to like-minded regional groups, and planning a full slate of events and advocacy for 2011.
Presenters at E2-NW 2010 events included US Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ralph Cavanagh and David Goldstein, co-directors of NRDC's Energy Program, E2 co-founder Nicole Lederer, and E2 Executive Director Judy Albert. These events attracted a cross-section of the region's business and environmental community including leaders such as Denis Hayes, president of the Bullitt Foundation and the founder of Earth Day.
The chapter has forged strong alliances with regional stalwarts Climate Solutions, the University of Oregon’s Green Business Initiative, EcoTrust, VOIS Alliance and Northwest Energy Angels. These groups will be co-sponsoring select chapter's events and partnering on many advocacy efforts in 2011.
Priorities for 2011
E2-NW’s priorities will be on energy and climate, water and oceans, and sustainable communities.
Energy and climate issues will include:
- encouraging the Boardman Coal Plant (one of Portland General Electric’s largest plants) to use renewable energy as it modernizes
- integrating renewable energy to the power grid
- challenging a permit to build a coal export terminal
- protecting Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit
- introducing legislation in Oregon that would support energy efficient buildings
- promoting low-carbon fuels, and
- potentially working with the U.S. Navy to reduce energy consumption on bases.
Water and oceans issues will focus on driving water efficiency efforts, educating members and the public about ocean acidification, and preventing harmful chemicals from entering streams and waterways. Preventing chemical pollution may take the form of working with state agencies and farmers to reduce non-point-source pollution and/or working on more comprehensive “green chemicals” policies.
Finally, E2-NW’s sustainable communities focus will emphasize events and cooperation with NRDC’s Center for Market Innovation to educate members about
- greening professional sports
- financing the green economy, and
- reducing the environmental impact of factory farms, which play a large role in Washington’s and Oregon’s economies, but also produce large amounts of greenhouse gas (methane), ammonia, hydrogen, sulfide, and particulate matter.
Our efforts may require engaging with others on reauthorization of the 2012 federal Farm Bill.California 2010-2011
Federal, Regional and State Activity 2010
The year 2010 ended in triumph for environmental progress in California. As we reported in the November E2 Update
, California voters resoundingly defeated Proposition 23 – the “Dirty Energy Proposition” by 22 percentage points – which was a huge victory for clean air, clean energy, and climate policy. In fact, “No on 23” received more votes than any other ballot measure in the country. California also adopted the nation's first, economy-wide carbon market to reduce pollution
(Note: RGGI applies only to the electricity sector, and therefore was the first carbon market; California's market applies to the transportation, industrial, and electricity sectors, and is therefore the first economy-wide market). The rest of the country will now be watching California to see the economic benefit of these environmental policies.
Opportunistic opposition groups used the economic recession to attack environmental policies that are, in fact, providing both economic value and job creation. Despite being outnumbered by industry lobbyists ten to one
, California’s environmental advocates were able to pass numerous pro-environment bills and defeat dozens of bills that were aimed at weakening California’s fundamental environmental laws. Under the leadership of new Speaker John Pérez, the Assembly did better than in prior years. On the other hand, Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto pen cancelled much environmental progress in his final legislative session.
Priorities for 2011
For 2011, a newly formed E2 California Policy Committee will provide a framework for making policy decisions for E2 California and provide a business lens for NRDC’s Advocacy work. As described in the article, “Time for Environmentalists to Encourage Good Stuff – While Continuing to stop the bad
”, the committee will focus on the theme of supporting the clean energy economy in order to drive California’s economic recovery. E2 California will focus on how we can help move the state forward by helping to fix the problems and providing solutions for making it easier for companies to do business in CA.
We will also work as a convener of the legislature, administration, and key groups to get the conversation started to help move things forward. E2 California will focus on areas with the largest impact, legislation that helps create jobs and helps business grow, and opportunities that benefit clean air, clean energy and economic growth.
Working within this framework, E2 California has identified potential priority areas for 2011 that include, but are not limited to:
- storm water runoff
- legislation to increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards
- build bi-partisan support with key Republicans, and
- facilitate CEQA improvements.
For 2011, E2 will demonstrate the economic benefits of good environmental policies so that California can show the rest of the country that environmental protection and economic progress co-exist. The extent to which November's passage of Proposition 26 (that requires a two-thirds supermajority vote to pass most fees, levies, charges and tax revenue allocations that previously required a simple majority vote) will impact environmental progress remains to be seen. E2 California will work towards harnessing the energy and enthusiasm from defeating Proposition 23 and use that momentum to ensure California’s path to a clean energy economy.
Login to add a comment: