E2’s Midwest chapter hosted its first summit in Chicago to a standing room only crowd. Co-Founder and Chair Nicole Lederer welcomed the group of 80 people to “Clean Energy, Clean Water & the Future of the Midwest,” where we discussed business opportunity for both the Clean Power Plan and clean water policy.

Illinois State Representative Elaine Nekritz and Jeremy Kalin, former Minnesota Representative and now CEO of Eutectics, offered opening remarks that emphasized how good policies lead to a good economy and a good environment. Representative Nekritz is lead sponsor of the Illinois Clean Jobs bill, which would increase energy efficiency and the use of renewables while also pursuing market-based strategies to reduce carbon pollution. E2 is part of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, which is a diverse group of businesses and organizations in the state supporting the bill.

The first panel explored potential business opportunity of the Clean Power Plan and how states are complying with the forthcoming rule. Kristy Manning of Missouri’s Department of Energy encouraged business leaders to get involved in state energy policy as their expertise is of high interest. She also described how useful E2’s Jobs Report has been in making the case in the state house that clean energy jobs have great potential in Missouri. E2 Northern California member and Nexant Senior Vice-President Terry Fry echoed the need for the business voice in energy policy, and helped the group understand all the direct and indirect benefits of clean energy jobs.

The need for clean and reliable water was the focus of the second panel (pictured upper right). The Midwest’s proximity to the Great Lakes, our intellectual and manufacturing talents are incredible resources to create solutions to the country’s water problems. Marian Singer, CEO & Co-Founder of Wellntel and Kevin Shafer, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Sewage District, both from Milwaukee discussed both the public and private spheres role in water policy. Tom Weisner, Mayor of Aurora, IL, discussed how good water policy can attract businesses to a municipality. 

The strong impact that the business voice has in environmental advocacy, something that E2 began 15 years ago, was felt throughout the afternoon. Midwest Chapter Directors Peter Lobin and Will Kenworthy were thrilled with the event turn-out and excited about how it already demonstrated the growth we have seen in the region.

– Gail Parson is E2's Midwest Advocate. 

Pictured upper right: The Summit's panel focusing on clean and reliable water comprised by (left to right) Tom Weisner, Mayor of Aurora, IL; Marian Singer, CEO & Co-Founder of Wellntel; Kevin Shafer, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Sewage District; Henry Henderson, Midwest Director, NRDC; Peter Lobin, E2 Midwest Chapter Director.