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L to R: Dave Rosenheim (E2), Christine Luong (E2), Jack Oswald (E2), Rep. Henry Waxman (D - CA), Gordon Davidson (E2), Bill Capp (E2), Jim Presswood (NRDC). Click to enlarge image.
On April 12-14 the E2 DC delegation, led by E2 Co-Founder, Nicole Lederer, arrived in Washington just days after a total government shutdown had been averted literally at the final hour. With Congress barely able to negotiate a budget to keep the government in business, our objective was to seek new allies to reinforce an agenda that promises economic growth and jobs for every region of the country – a winning proposition regardless of the prevailing politics. In a highly partisan environment and amidst aggressive attacks against environmental regulation, our strategy was to de-politicize and advance an agenda for better resource management and efficiency as the path to greater economic, environmental and national security.
In addition to our meetings with Congress and Administration offices, the E2 team traveled to the Pentagon, where we introduced ourselves to a new and powerful force pushing for low-carbon renewable energy and energy efficiency: the Department of Defense.
Big Stick in the Energy Fight
In October 2009, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus gave a landmark speech outlining a new Navy mandate to reduce energy use through efficiency and replace fossil fuel consumption with renewable energy. The Navy objectives are aggressive: half of all Navy bases will reach net zero energy consumption by 2020, and at least half of all energy the Navy uses both ashore and afloat will come from non-fossil-fuel sources by the same year. Secretary Mabus articulated a Department of Defense position that few in Congress or anywhere else will dare challenge: that both our current fossil fuel energy platform and the impacts of global warming are serious national security liabilities.
E2 conducted five meetings at the Pentagon with every branch of the military and with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where we learned about more mandates similar to those announced by the Navy that are in place throughout the Armed Services. By setting these objectives, not only is the military defining new national security standards for energy – they are also creating a de facto market for the whole spectrum of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that will be needed to achieve those objectives – a key signal for the clean technology industry to move forward.
In the military, these issues are seen through an operational lens. For example, the Air Force is the DOD’s largest consumer of liquid fuel, and is therefore most focused on renewable drop-in replacement fuels for aircraft. The Army, with the largest bases and installations, is also the largest energy consumer – and is therefore focused particularly on energy efficiency. The Marine Corps, with its troops frequently deployed in “forward operating bases”, is highly focused on field-generated renewable energy and efficiency technologies for both fuel and water. The Navy, with land, sea and air operations, is taking the most comprehensive approach as outlined by Secretary Mabus.
The E2 delegation was inspired by the possibilities for progress inherent in the military’s commitment to low-carbon alternative energy generation and energy efficiency innovations. Moving forward, we will work to develop productive relationships with the leaders on these energy initiatives at DOD to enhance our mutual objectives. Just as in the cases of information technology and the internet, the Department of Defense will clearly play a pivotal role in the development and deployment of a clean energy industry. As the inherent energy, economic and national security advantages of these technologies are demonstrated, the political barriers will give way to rapid adoption by private industry and the public.
Expanding the Conversation - 60+ Meetings in 48 Hours
Our delegates were each qualified to advance E2’s agenda based on their own professional expertise on a wide variety of clean energy technologies including renewable energy generation, biofuels production, energy storage, alternative transportation, and energy efficiency technologies. Each delegate developed focused talking points on our policy objectives as they relate to their own industries. Thanks to these 16 delegates, including a team of three who specialized on oceans and fisheries management issues (see next article), and with the excellent guidance of E2 Federal Advocate Marc Boom, we participated in over 60 meetings with members of Congress, the White House, and a slate of Administration agencies (see list below).
In each of these meetings we promoted the economic benefits to the country that will result from:
Transitioning to alternative, high efficiency transportation technologies and low carbon sustainable fuels that address the economic and national security liability of our current fossil fuel portfolio;
Enacting policies and financing mechanisms that enhance development, deployment and export of clean, low-carbon energy technologies;
Retaining EPA authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions;
And/or, sustainably managing our oceans and fisheries.
Mark Begich (D – AK)
Charles Bass (R – NH)
Sharon Burke (Dept. of Defense)
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs
Michael Bennett (D – CO)
Brian Bilbray (R – CA) (Staff)
Col. Charette (US Marine Corps.)
Director, U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office
Jeff Bingaman (D – NM) (staff)
Earl Blumenauer (R – OR)
Steven Chu (DOE)
U.S. Secretary of Energy
Richard Blumenthal (D – CT)
Lois Capps (D – CA)
Rear Adm. Philip H. Cullom, (Navy)
Director of the Energy and Environmental Readiness Division
Scott Brown (R – MA)
Diana DeGette (D – CO) (staff)
Jon Powers (Army)
Special Advisor on Energy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army on Installation, Energy and Environment
Sherrod Brown (D – OH) (staff)
Mario Diaz-Balart (R – FL) (staff)
David McIntosh (EPA)
Richard Burr (R – NC) (staff)
Sam Farr (D – CA)
Aaron Klein (Treasury Dept.)
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Coordination
Al Franken (D – MN) (staff)
John Garamendi (D – CA)
Polly Trottenberg (USDOT)
Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy
Kirsten Gillibrand (D – NY) (staff)
Cory Gardner (R – CO)
Robert Bonnie (USDA)
Senior Advisor for Environment and Climate
Tom Harkin (D – IA) (staff)
Nan Hayworth (R – NY) (staff)
Carol Ann Beda (Air Force)
Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics
John Kerry (D – MA) (staff)
James Himes (D – CT)
Sally Yozell (NOAA)
Director of Policy and Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary
Herbert H. Kohl (D – WI) (staff)
Michael M. Honda (D – CA) (staff)
Heather Zichal (White House)
Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy
Mary Landrieu (D – LA) (staff)
Jay Inslee (D – WA)
Frank Lautenberg (D – NJ) (staff)
Bill Johnson (R – OH)
Claire C. McCaskill (D – MO) (staff)
William Keating (D – MA)
Jeff Merkley (D – OR)
Steven C. LaTourette (R – OH) (staff)
Bill Nelson (D – FL) (staff)
Frank A. LoBiondo (R – NJ) (staff)
Jack Reed (D – RI) (staff)
Edward J. Markey (D – MA) (staff)
Marco Rubio (R – FL) (staff)
Michael Michaud (D – ME) (staff)
Olympia J. Snowe (R – ME) (staff)
Nancy Pelosi (D – CA) (Staff)
Debbie A. Stabenow (D – MI) (staff)
Chellie Pingree (D – ME)
James Webb (D – VA) (staff)
Jared Polis (D – CO)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D – RI)
Adam Schiff (D – CA) (staff)
Ron Wyden (D – OR)
Henry A. Waxman (D – CA)
C.W. Bill Young (R – FL) (staff)
From Left to Right: David Moyar (E2), Felix Kramer (E2), Rep. Jay Inslee (D - WA), Laura Berland-Shane (E2). Click to enlarge image.
With our traditional allies on the ropes, centrists wavering every day, and 90 new members of Congress who are not familiar with E2, our goals on Capitol Hill were diverse and challenging. Yet armed with E2 policy letters (Clean Energy Policies 2011; EPA Defense 2011; MSA Letter 2011; Transportation 2011) and personal experiences in their various fields, E2 members represented the business case for supporting smart environmental and energy policies.
Specifically, our delegates used concern over rising gas prices to focus on the need for Congress to get serious about supporting long-term renewable and sustainable alternatives to today’s energy sources. With demands for more drilling rising, we pointed out that since the U.S. will always be a price-taker in the global oil market, a better strategy for saving families’ money, increasing our national security and creating jobs was to support improved efficiency standards up to 60 mpg by 2025.
This approach will save nearly three times the amount of oil (analysis based off EIA offshore oil data and Go60.org) that could be produced by new drilling, stimulate job growth in developing and deploying new technologies and save the average American family over $6,000 in a vehicle’s lifetime. Additionally, with a new transportation bill set to be debated shortly, we also advocated for efficiency and oil-use-reduction standards for new projects so that smart growth strategies and public transit would have a better chance of receiving funding in the future.
In order to promote solutions to our transportation problems as well as our traditional electrical sources, we need Congress to properly fund programs to develop and deploy these new technologies. That means supporting programs at the Department of Energy which are focused on those goals. Programs like the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Advanced Research and Development Agency- Energy, and the Sect. 1705 Loan Guarantee are critical to bridge the “valley of death” to clean technology development and deployment and support the growth of clean energy jobs across the country. The House’s first budget bill actually went in the wrong direction by cutting these programs, so E2 delegates’ stories about how effective these programs are for developing the clean tech economy were crucial in changing minds. Additionally, we supported creating new long-term programs to support clean tech development, such as a Clean Energy Deployment Administration, which would be given broad authority to develop and deploy new clean energy technologies using a wide number of financing mechanisms.
From L to R: E2 Delegates James Marvin (E2), Marc Boom (E2 Federal Legislative Advocate), Nicole Lederer (E2 Co-Founder), Ethan Garber (E2), Sam Weaver (E2). Click to enlarge image.
Finally, E2 delegates made a persuasive argument for protecting the only current federal policy on the issue, EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to limit carbon pollution. This policy, while not as strong as the comprehensive bill we supported last year, serves as a market signal to businesses across the country that the U.S. is a good place to invest in the low-carbon clean energy economy. Our delegates pointed out that blocking EPA’s authority in any way would only serve to confuse the market and send investment and jobs to other countries with better conditions, like China and Germany.
We found that our delegates’ business stories, linked to the federal policies we were promoting, helped connect the dots for members of Congress. Many of our allies already knew of the link between federal policy and economic performance and they appreciated having new success stories to tell when championing our issues.
Those who were wavering were given more reason to stay the course and continue to support the right policies to implement a clean energy economy. Finally, those who were new in Congress were introduced, many for the first time, to business leaders who support strong environmental policy to grow the economy, and made to realize the direct impact bad federal policies will have on the emerging clean tech sector.
In the end, E2 expanded its influence on Capitol Hill and left a positive impression as a group of business leaders who are willing to challenge the political gridlock in order to move our country forward. One immediate result of our work on the Hill – E2 has been asked to testify in a House hearing on renewable energy deployment in May.
Click here to see the E2 memo left with each Congressional office about clean energy.
The sheer number and variety of meetings that our E2 teams conducted with the White House and Administration Agencies and Departments - including the Departments of Energy, Treasury, Transportation, Agriculture, the EPA, and the Department of Defense - showed the depth of understanding in government of the broad and pervasive impacts and opportunities of a clean energy economy. Every agency with which we met recognized its own key role in this transformation, and was receptive to E2’s business perspectives. Several agency leaders indicated that they would welcome documentation of the real-life business stories of our members already growing companies in the clean energy field – a request that we plan to address in the coming weeks.
Thanks to all the E2 delegates for their unique contributions to our DC team. It is striking and inspiring to witness the creativity, expertise and commitment of our members to E2’s advocacy goals. For these few days in DC, the delegates volunteer to set aside their personal and professional responsibilities to prioritize and support E2’s policy objectives through the lens of their own expertise – and this never fails to gain the attention and respect of those in government with whom we meet. Stay tuned for more opportunities for E2 members to engage in federal advocacy as the year unfolds.
How You Can Help
E2 is continuing to broaden our reach in Washington, D.C. If you are interested in joining this effort, or if any of the questions below apply to you, please contact Nicole Lederer (Nicole@nicolelederer.com) to learn more about advocacy opportunities and training.
-Is your business (or the businesses in which you are invested):
Creating jobs? How many? Where?
Manufacturing something? Where?
Agriculturally related? Where?
Influenced by federal policies on energy, transportation, land use, oceans, water, agriculture or resource management issues? How so?
-Do you have any affiliation with the Department of Defense or with any veterans’ organizations?
-Do you have an affiliation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or with any local Chambers?
-Do you have a relationship with any local/state/federal legislators?
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