Over the course of two days in April, the E2 Spring 2016 DC Delegation converged on Washington, DC and met with 55 legislators and members of the Administration. Nearly half of our meetings on Capitol Hill were with Midwestern legislators, and a third were with Republican offices. The E2 delegation spoke before the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, and met with House and Senate leaders on climate and clean energy policy. We also met with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz; Dr. Ellen Williams, Director of the ARPA-E program; and climate policy leaders from EPA and the White House.
Since 2000, E2 has brought business perspectives on environmental, resource management, climate and clean energy issues to legislators and policy makers in state and federal government. To do this we’ve engaged business leaders from diverse industries who live, work and create jobs in all 50 states. We’ve broadened the scope of our membership to include veterans and farmers, and we’ve greatly increased our focus in areas outside of the East and West Coasts. As a result of all of these initiatives, E2 has been able to meet with policy and lawmakers from across the country and political spectrum, and developed and sustained long term relationships with many of them. The 2016 Spring E2 Advocacy Trip demonstrated the cumulative impact of this work.
This year our delegation had a new and powerful tool at our disposal – a suite of E2-branded clean energy jobs reports detailing the employment resulting from climate and related policies: our Clean Jobs America report showed over 2.5 million clean energy workers currently employed in the sector; our Clean Jobs Midwest report showed nearly 500,000 workers in the region employed in this sector, with an interactive map showing district-specific job numbers and types of jobs; and our Clean Jobs NY report showed 85,000 clean energy workers, also with district/county level specificity.
With these reports in hand we recruited E2 delegates (pictured above) primarily from the Midwest, Colorado, and New York – executives who represent the businesses that are producing these jobs – and sought meetings with offices from those states for which we had specific jobs data. The team included a farmer from South Dakota, an ex-football player turned solar entrepreneur from Iowa, energy efficiency practitioners from Ohio and North Carolina, a wind CEO from Colorado, clean energy financiers, and sustainable winery and solar entrepreneurs from New York. Between them, they represented clean energy projects and jobs in 45 states, facilitating productive conversations even with offices that had never agreed to meet with us before and have traditionally voted against our policy priorities. The jobs reports gave us a platform to discuss specific benefits to constituents of every legislator with whom we met.
E2’s foremost advocacy priority continues to be advancing the Clean Power Plan (CPP) – the most powerful national policy vehicle to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions while incentivizing innovation and investment in the clean energy space. The 2015 Paris Climate Accord amplified the impact of the CPP to a global level, creating what E2 has called “The Mother of All Market Signals” for clean energy technologies. We also advocated for proposed increased funding for research and development of clean energy technologies through the Mission Innovation program.
We’ve already seen results. Shortly after we met with his staff, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado bucked his party to vote for Mission Innovation funding. Several House members, in tweets and statements, amplified the clean jobs numbers in their states and districts that we provided them. And several senators – including Sens. Markey, Whitehouse and Wyden – thanked us for our work on the Hill and for bringing business voices to climate change and clean energy issues.
Thanks to our members, E2 was able to show that clean energy policies create many more winners than losers in every state and region of the country. The E2 team’s stories of job creation combined with our clean energy jobs reports opened new doors with legislators who have opposed our policy agenda in the past, and supplied our allies with new and strategic information. The momentum of the clean energy economy is now undeniable, even in the halls of Congress.
Nicole Lederer is E2’s Chair and Co-Founder.