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Business Voice for the Environment
April 30 2012
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2012 E2 DC Advocacy Delegation
MA Senate bill would improve outlook for renewables
Unlocking Energy Innovation: Creating Impactful Technology
Thoughts from E2 Chapter Director Tony Bernhardt
Putting a Price on Carbon and Balancing the Budget
Dont Waste LA
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 2012 E2 DC Advocacy Delegation at the Darlington House 4/17/12
E2’s annual advocacy trip to Washington DC this year charted new territory, even as we confront the reality of a Congress in gridlock, where measures that previously enjoyed bipartisan support are caught in a political logjam.  

As the Administration looks for non-legislative ways to advance clean energy solutions, it has become increasingly important for E2 to meet with the agencies, learn about their energy initiatives and identify opportunities to bring the business voice into the design and implementation processes of these programs.   We therefore expanded our agenda to include the General Services Administration and the Council on Environmental Quality, in addition to the Department of Defense and EPA.

Nonetheless, it remains important for E2 to continue building relationships in Congress on both sides of the aisle.  Key issues are being pushed back to the post-election “lame duck” session. Sequestration, with over six trillion dollars in tax increases, along with one trillion dollars in budget cuts, will kick in at the end of the year, unless otherwise addressed.   Our voice will be particularly important at that time and in 2013 to encourage adoption of sensible approaches to energy and the environment, and push back against bad proposals.

Fourteen delegation members arrived in DC on April 16 for three days of meetings with members of Congress and representatives of the Administration.  Our objective was to highlight the economic growth and job generation inherent in growing a clean energy economy, and to urge Congress to support policies that will keep the U.S. competitive in a global clean energy market currently valued at $2-3 Trillion.

Our delegation, divided into three teams, met with 19 House offices, 16 Senate offices and 5 administration offices, including EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, senior energy officials in the Pentagon, energy leaders in the Government Services Administration, and senior advisors in the White House.  Senator Ron Wyden; Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army; Jon Powers, Federal Environmental Executive Council on Environmental Quality; and Bob Deans, NRDC Director of Federal Communications addressed the delegation at dinner on April 17th.

The delegation delivered three key messages:

  1. Advance policies to support clean energy development;
  2. Defend EPA clean air emissions regulations; and
  3. Promote the Department of Defense’s clean energy initiatives.
(For a brief synopsis on these three issues, read our leave-behind document here)

(View a list of all our meetings here)

 Photo id
 L to R: E2 Co-Founder Nicole Lederer, General John Castellaw, E2 Member John Cheney, E2 Member Erin Geegan, and E2 Member Laney Thornton
Advancing Clean Energy Policies
In a time of budget austerity and in the wake of a few high profile clean energy bankruptcies, some Congressional leaders are attempting to dismantle federal support for clean energy established by the 2007 Energy Bill and the 2009 Stimulus Bill. In the House, over 190 anti-environmental votes have been taken in the past year, many aimed at reducing or ending support for clean energy. In the Senate, two recent votes to extend critical tax incentives were unable to break filibuster. Several clean energy tax incentives expired at the end of last year and the renewable energy production tax credit, which affects the wind industry in particular, expires this year, putting 35,000 jobs, many in manufacturing states, at immediate risk. Additionally, funding is threatened for many key programs at the Department of Energy.

E2 delegates advanced the positive impact these supportive policies have in driving economic growth and job generation, as well as stronger U.S. exports of American made clean energy technologies and products.

For a compelling account of the politics surrounding clean energy policies currently in limbo despite bipartisan support, read E2 delegate and Clean Edge Senior Research Analyst Trevor Winnie’s recent blog.

Defending EPA’s Carbon and Toxic Emissions Rules
Over the course of this past year, EPA has issued several important clean air act safeguards that will reduce carbon pollution, smog, soot, and toxic air pollution from power plants. Power plants are the largest man-made source of mercury and carbon pollution in the United States. EPA standards will not only improve public health but also will promote investment in pollution control technologies. The House has repeatedly voted to block or delay mercury standards, carbon pollution standards and other toxic air pollution standards, with some legislators calling EPA regulations “job killers”.

According to EPA, these standards will create approximately 52,000 jobs; 46,000 short?]term construction jobs and 8,000 long?]term utility jobs in the sector.   In addition the standards will produce $37 billion to $90 billion in economic benefits from improved public health.  

E2 delegates communicated to members of Congress our support for EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS), the proposed Carbon Pollution Standard which limits carbon emissions from new power plants, and the Cross-State Air Pollution standards issues by EPA, which like the Mercury and Air Toxics standards, will drive the installation of pollution control technologies and level the playing field between businesses upwind and downwind.  We advanced the concern that prolonged ambiguity surrounding emissions policies is creating uncertainty for American businesses, and causing investors to look elsewhere for opportunities, thereby discouraging domestic innovation and job creation.

In a meeting with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, we presented E2’s action alert signed by 281 of our members in support of the recently proposed Greenhouse Gas Rules.

 Senator Richard Blumenthal: "Visiting with E2 has opened new areas of action for pursuing environmental protection combined with entrepreneurial investment.  One such opportunity is clean energy use by our military, which I will continue to advocate as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, with E2's valuable support.  I am grateful for E2's strong leadership and partnership as I fight to preserve our environment and grow the economy, both achievable and vital goals."

  
 (L to R) E2 Members Jon Gensler, Wanda Reindorf, Jon Foster, and Elton Sherwin
Promoting DOD clean energy initiatives
While Congress debates, the Department of Defense continues to advance its own clean energy agenda for national security.  According to DOD our fossil fuel dependence exposes the U.S. to increased vulnerability at home and abroad, and is a major liability for the armed services.  In last year’s DC trip report, we described the initiatives specific to each of the branches of the military.  Over the last twelve months E2 has continued to engage with the military to understand their objectives and to keep our members abreast of DOD’s work on bases across the country.  During our trip to DC we conducted meetings with members of the Armed Services Committees of both the House and Senate to promote DOD’s clean energy agenda from an economic perspective.  DOD-driven demand for innovation and product development in clean energy has broad appeal, as there is some form of military presence in every state of the union.  The drive to make military bases more energy and resource efficient is resulting in greater civilian employment in communities surrounding those bases, and DOD’s commitment to advancing new energy generation, storage, transmission  and alternative fuels technologies promises economic opportunity and job generation for constituents across the political and geographic spectrum.

To advance the military’s work in this arena and sustain funding for these projects, E2 is voicing our support to members of the Armed Services Committees as they begin work on the annual National Defense Authorization Act. E2 sent a letter supporting the military’s clean energy security initiatives to the House Armed Services Committee prior to action on the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act.  As the bill moves toward passage by the full House, we plan to send out an organization wide action alert before the final vote.

In addition to meetings with members of the Armed Services committees on the Hill, E2 conducted meetings in the Pentagon with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, with the Navy, and also hosted Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, at dinner.

We were fortunate to have two military veterans on the E2 delegation, General John Castellaw and E2 Member Jon Gensler, each of whom provided expert testimony to the link between national security and clean energy security.

image credit: operationfree.netLt. General John Castellaw USMC (Ret), President, Crockett Policy Institute: "The E2 Hill engagement carried the message to key legislators and staffers that clean energy is a priority for our military because it is a matter of America's national security. Having businessmen and military professionals standing together sends a strong message."
Read General Castellow’s recent op-ed on the importance of clean energy to his home state of Tennessee here.

 Photo id
 E2 Member Erin Geegan (center) is named a Champion of Change by the White House.
Meeting with White House and GSA
The entire E2 delegation participated in a round table discussion on clean energy policy with White House officials from the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Public Engagement, the White House Business Council and the White House Domestic Policy Council.   As part of its ongoing commitment to clean energy innovators, the White House honored E2 member and delegate Erin Geegan on April 19 for her work developing solar carports at Zam Energy.

Another highlight of the DC trip was E2’s first meeting with the General Services Administration (GSA).  GSA is the central agency for acquiring products, services, and workspace for the Federal government.  It provides office space for over one million Federal employees in 9,600 buildings, and offers 12 million products and services to other Federal agencies.  GSA is pursuing aggressive sustainability goals including a 27% reducing in GHG emissions by 2020, and is spending $4.5 billion for green building modernization and some distributed renewable energy generation.  The E2 team heard details of how GSA is pursuing its goals and what hurdles the agency must overcome to achieve them. As with the renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts at the Department of Defense, the efforts at GSA could turn out to be very  beneficial for companies operating in those sectors.  We believe the meeting will be the beginning of a good working relationship between E2 and GSA.

 E2 Member Erin Geegan: "It was an honor and a humbling experience to be a Champion of Change for Renewable Energy... I am grateful to Nicole for nominating me, as with this recognition it is my hope that some of the progress we are making here at Environmental Entrepreneurs can capture the imagination of America... stories like mine can be used to convey the vital progress of clean tech innovation ... designed to promote a safer, healthier environment .. (and) proven to have economically sustainable business models."

 Photo id
 (L to R) E2 Members Michael Rucker, Trevor Winnie, Joel Serface, Cynthia Perthuis;E2 Executive Director Judith Albert; Scott Slesigner.
Press
Our final meeting was with reporters from Bloomberg, Marketplace Radio (American Public Media/NPR), Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, EE News/Greenwire, and Platts Energy.  Of these, at least one, Jim Snyder of Bloomberg, followed up w/ an E2 member and included him in his story: " Clean-Energy Requirements Targeted by ALEC, Norquist". E2 discussed the release of our recent Q1 clean energy jobs report. Since Sept 2011, we’ve seen 300 projects in 47 states with the promise of 90,000 new jobs. The release of the report resulted in significant media coverage.

Summary

E2 has found numerous opportunities to advance a clean energy agenda in Washington, DC. EPA emission regulations, GSA purchasing policies and DOD’s clean energy initiatives are creating significant market signals to innovators and investors in this space, and the White House is providing significant support – but business leaders must step up to defend these policies. The economics are on our side, with every region of the country seeing opportunities for expansion in the clean energy sector. All E2 members can support this trend by contacting U.S. Senators and Representatives in the states in which you live or do business, including those where you have significant supply chain relationships. Regardless of what business you’re in, your voice in support of clean energy is enormously important right now.  If you would like assistance in contacting any legislator on these issues, please email E2 Federal Advocate Marc Boom at mboom@nrdc.org.

 Bonus:The Space Shuttle Discovery circles Washington, DC, April 17, 2012, as photographed by Joel Serface!
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