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Business Voice for the Environment
September 26, 2008
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 (5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Mountain)
EcoSalon    read more >

- Report details opportunities in specific industries, states
- International pact of companies pledges to promote cleaner fuels
- Decision parallels public's wishes for the national park
- Court directs agency to set preventative standards
- Agrees to improve water quality standards and health tests
- SB 375 will help fulfill targets for global warming emissions
- Positive economic message reaches 840,000 listeners through radio
- Van Jones brings his message to E2's entrepreneurs
- Learning from AB 32 example in California
From left: Tony Lent, Stephen Cowell, Nicole Lederer, Paul Zorner and John Cheney.
The nation’s energy debate has been quite a wild ride this summer. We went from the historic introduction in Congress of the Lieberman Warner Global Warming Bill in June, to a highly politicized debate on solutions to high gasoline prices throughout the summer, to the introduction on September 16 of a House energy bill that lifts the 30-year moratorium on offshore oil drilling while also providing support for clean energy development. Throughout this time, E2 has worked to promote the message that investing our national resources in energy efficiency and alternative energy will launch the country on a new wave of economic growth and job generation.

High gasoline prices over the summer ignited a highly charged debate in Washington, DC, in which domestic drilling was promoted as a solution to the pain Americans are feeling at the pump. Drilling proponents and oil industry interests mounted a messaging campaign, "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less," to convince the public that opening the remaining protected areas of the Outer Continental Shelf and the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to new oil exploration would lower prices at the pump. No matter that the U.S. Department of Energy’s own Energy Information Administration has concluded that lifting the moratorium would have no immediate impact on gas prices and only an "insignificant" impact by 2030.

To combat this misdirection on the drilling issue and the diversion that it creates from real solutions to our energy crisis, E2 jumped into this public debate by engaging in a two-pronged outreach strategy - a radio tour and a presentation to Congress - to address both federal lawmakers and their constituents.

E2’s "Real Energy Solutions" Radio Tour

Starting in August, a group of E2 member volunteers from the E2 DC project (Joel Serface, Dave Noble, Andrew Currie, Bill Unger, Dan Goldman, Jon Slangerup, John Cheney, Tedd Saunders, Rob Erlichman, Tony Lent and Holly Kaufman) began a series of radio interviews coordinated by NRDC’s communications team to reach voters in key states. Each delivered the message – based on their own business experience – that renewable energy and energy efficiency provide real opportunities to gain control over the supply and price of energy while growing our economy and creating thousands of new jobs. The radio shows, often booked during commuter drive time on national stations and in key states (Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Virginia), involved both host interviews and questions from listeners, which ranged from friendly to antagonistic. In all cases our E2 representatives promoted their perspectives with authority and humor.

For an example of eloquence and spot-on message delivery (in spite of a radio host who was a bit fuzzy on the issue) listen to Dan Goldman’s interview on WSRQ in Tampa, Florida, immediately followed by excellent interviews with Jon Slangerup and John Cheney (see bios for Dan, Jon and John). To hear a valiant display of persistence in the face of host belligerence, listen to Holly Kaufman’s wonderful performance on WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio (see Holly’s bio). Visit E2.org for a full list of available interviews.

This radio tour is ongoing. As of September 22 our E2 spokespeople have reached audiences of 840,000 listeners in states that are key to the federal energy policy debate and where we have not previously had the opportunity to promote our message.

Thanks to all the E2 volunteers who’ve done radio interviews for us so far. If you’re interested in participating in this program, please contact Nicole Lederer at Nicole@nicolelederer.com.

E2 in DC: "Voices from the New Energy Economy: Real People, Real Jobs, Right Now"

For the second prong of E2’s action on the current energy debate, five E2 members responded to an invitation by Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA) to update Congress with a presentation on activity in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors. Many legislators remain largely uninformed about the innovation, investment and growth that is occurring in this arena, as well as the economic benefits that will accrue to their districts by putting the right energy policies in place. E2 members Stephen Cowell, John Cheney, Tony Lent, Paul Zorner and Nicole Lederer created a presentation, the "New Energy Economy," emphasizing the enormous opportunities in the U.S. for economic growth and job generation in alternative energy and energy efficiency – and the need for federal policy to support research, investment in and deployment of these solutions.

Nicole introduced the presentation by citing the number of new jobs that have already been created and that are currently in the pipeline as a result of an expansion of the renewable energy sector – and how policy-sensitive these projects and accompanying jobs are. Paul Zorner made the point that his work, which promises greater energy and economic independence for the state of Hawaii, can be applied to any state in the Union, creating local jobs and local control over power generation. John Cheney showed a clear correlation between the states in which his company, which finances alternative energy projects, invests and those with favorable renewable energy standards. Stephen Cowell talked about how his residential energy efficiency retrofitting business, the largest in the U.S., is operating in states with good energy efficiency policy and incentives, and how those states then benefit from the green collar jobs that his company creates. And Tony Lent, a private equity investor in the alternative energy space for the past 15 years, argued for the U.S. to adopt economy-wide carbon and renewable energy policies in order to compete in the global energy economy. Read all the speakers’ remarks and download their slides.

After our two presentations (one in the House and one in the Senate), we met with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who serves on the Senate Energy & Resources Committee, to discuss the energy bill he is writing. Senator Wyden invited E2 to provide feedback on the bill as it is being crafted.

Thanks to all the E2 volunteers who have loaned their time and expertise to this effort. Their work positions E2 to have a meaningful role in the critical next stage of U.S. energy policy.

"My trip to DC was my first E2 experience, being a new member, and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet fellow cleantech entrepreneurs and experience the passion that we all bring to our day and night jobs. Thinking about these issues on a national scale made me realize and deliver the message that there is a strong connection between the current financial crisis and the energy crisis that results from skyrocketing prices. The households who received sub-prime mortgages were able to pay their mortgages and hide the fragile nature of these investments until rising energy prices resulted in these households(below 50k in income) losing 10% of their annual income to higher energy prices and falling behind in their mortgages. It proved that our entire economy is inexorably linked to our energy economy." – Stephen Cowell

"This was my first experience with the E2 group in Washington. Our team and leadership displayed tremendous talent, insight and was a joy to work with side by side. Upon reflection what was amazing to me was how receptive Members were to our positions and thoughts. My brief personal conclusion is that even while the looming financial chaos is unfolding, it is more important than ever to show the strength of our vision and bipartisan support for our environmental and energy policies. I came away with an almost uncanny sense that Climate Change and Renewable Energy may be one of the only bright lights left for Members to push the economy away from the brink." – John Cheney
Nancy Abercrombie (E2 member), Ellen Bermingham, Bob Epstein (E2 Co-founder), and Mike Ubell (E2 member)
At the E2 Northern California chapter’s first EcoSalon in Oakland, members and guests gathered September 4 to hear about "Green Jobs for the New Energy Economy." Van Jones, Founder and President of Green For All - an Oakland-based nonprofit organization working to ensure that the clean-energy economy of the 21st century creates good jobs, safer streets and healthier communities - spoke about how a shift to a greener economy presented opportunities not just to cleantech startups but also to skilled workers in declining industries, people who would otherwise be on the streets or incarcerated and, ultimately, whole communities hosting or surrounding centers of green business.

E2 Northern California Chapter Leader Maureen Blanc with Van Jones
He made an emphatic appeal to the entrepreneurs and private-sector professionals in the audience to keep what they are doing to promote cleantech, but also open their doors to workers from underrepresented pools of the population.

Ann Notthoff, Director of NRDC’s California Advocacy Program, and The Honorable Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), California State Assembly Member, provided context for the evening by discussing the political and legislative situation in the state’s capitol, policy options for promoting green job creation and training, and specific green jobs-related legislation - such as Assembly Member Hancock’s bill relating to regional occupational training centers (AB 2515).

E2 thanks Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley LLP for graciously co-hosting the EcoSalon, and the East Bay Community Foundation for providing its venue.
E2 Co-founder Bob Epstein is one of a small group of people who actually has over two years of experience designing a state plan to limit global warming pollution. Thus, as Massachusetts prepares to implement its own Global Warming Solutions Act, Bob’s visit to Boston on September 12 was particularly relevant and timely.

For the past two years Bob has served as Vice Chair of California’s Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee (ETAAC) - a multi-discipline advisory team for California ’s landmark global warming bill, AB 32. During his visit, he shared the lessons learned with members of Massachusetts’ state legislature and senior officials of Governor Patrick’s Administration. In addition, Bob was the featured speaker at an E2 Ecosalon for approximately 60 E2 members and guests generously hosted by the law firm WilmerHale.

His bottom-line message to each of these groups was the same: after two years of working on the plan, he believes now more than ever that technical solutions exist and the goals can be met. Among his most interesting insights is the importance of good economic analysis to buttress recommendations - especially a set of scenarios for business-as-usual energy prices versus the situation with the climate plan in place. The California group believes that implementing the climate plan would provide more predictability to business and was more likely to decrease risk from high energy prices than the business-as-usual scenarios. Moreover, ETAAC showed that the speed of deployment is limited as much by existing processes as by lack of technology - with limits on siting for transmission lines a classic example.

Bob spent time with key members of the Patrick administration, including Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles; Undersecretary of Energy Ann Berwick; Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Phil Guidice; Undersecretary for Policy David Cash; and Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Secretary Laurie Butt. As a result of the meeting, a direct line of communication has been opened between the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which is charged with implementing AB 32, and the comparable regulatory team in Massachusetts.

In addition, this month E2 has been working with several other organizations as part of a "Guidelines Consensus Group" to weigh in on the regulatory structure for least-cost procurement that is specified in the Green Communities Act (see more information) on Criteria for Establishing Program Cost-Effectiveness.

E2 New England will continue to monitor implementation issues on all the progressive bills that passed in this session of the Massachusetts legislature, while at the same time evaluating our legislative agenda for 2009.
A report released September 9 by NRDC and partner groups outlines how the U.S. can resuscitate the economy, address the energy crisis and help reduce global warming by investing in clean energy and green infrastructure. "Green Recovery-A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy," describes how a two-year, $100 billion green investment program, funded by proceeds from a carbon cap-and-auction system, would spur four times as many jobs as spending the same amount within the oil industry, and 300,000 more jobs than directing stimulus towards household consumption. The planned jobs incorporate the existing skills of millions of Americans in every region of the country and invest in six priorities: retrofitting buildings for improved energy efficiency, mass transit and freight rail, "smart" electrical transmission systems, wind power, solar power and next-generation biofuels. The report includes 34 individual state fact sheets to highlight opportunities at the state level. Click here to access the full report, fact sheets and a full list of authors and sponsors.
NRDC and World Wildlife Fund have joined Boeing, some of the world’s leading airlines, and Honeywell’s UOP, a refining technology developer, to establish the “Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group” which will accelerate the development and commercialization of sustainable new aviation fuels. The group’s charter is to enable the commercial use of renewable fuel sources that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while lessening commercial aviation’s exposure to oil price volatility and dependence on fossil fuels. All group members subscribe to a sustainability pledge. Airlines supporting the sustainable fuels initiative include Air France, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Cargolux, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, KLM, SAS and Virgin Atlantic Airways. The group has announced two initial sustainability research projects to assess the sustainability of producing biomass fuels from jatropha and algae. Congratulations to NRDC’s Liz Barratt-Brown, Senior Attorney (read Liz’s blog on this topic), Nathanael Greene, Senior Policy Analyst, Debbie Hammel, Senior Resource Specialist, Deron Lovaas, Vehicles Campaign Director, and Cai Steger, Corporate Projects Manager, on this important new initiative.
On September 15, a federal court found that the Bush Administration violated the legal responsibility of the National Park Service (NPS) when it authorized increased snowmobile use at the expense of air quality, wildlife and overall public enjoyment of nature within Yellowstone National Park. In the last five winters, Yellowstone has seen an average of 263 snowmobiles per day. Research on the impacts of snowmobiles suggests capping or decreasing that number, pointing to the need for protection of wildlife, clean air and natural quiet. Over the past 10 years, more than half a million Americans have submitted comments to NPS concerning Yellowstone’s Winter Use Plan, making it the most publicly commented-on issue in the history of the national parks. A consistent 4-to-1 majority favored access to Yellowstone via modern snowcoach, led by a knowledgeable guide, rather than snowmobile. The Bush Administration instead authorized a doubling of the number of allowed snowmobiles to 540 per day, resulting in increased exhaust pollution, disrupted habitat and more motorized noise pollution. Chuck Clusen led NRDC’s continuing involvement in the case, which was brought to court by Earthjustice. To read the full ruling, visit www.greateryellostone.org.
On September 18, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2006 decision from a lower court that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must set standards to prevent construction site pollution from contaminating storm water. Siding with NRDC and Waterkeeper Alliance, the court affirmed that pollution from strip malls, subdivisions and other new development should controlled, not released freely into rivers and streams. Unchecked construction runoff has far-reaching consequences, including beach closings, waterborne diseases, fish kills and contaminated drinking water. NRDC staff attorney Melanie Shepherdson was actively involved in the case. Read the court’s decision.
The U.S. EPA will conduct by 2012 new public health studies and better testing methods as they relate to beachwater pollution, according to a settlement approved on September 5. Following a summer during which a record number of beach closures occurred, the improved guidelines will protect millions of beachgoers against a broader range of swimming-related illnesses and will provide rapid test results capable of detecting t hr eats on the same day they appear. NRDC originally sued EPA in May 2006 after the agency failed to meet deadlines to update its water quality standards and testing procedures, which do not screen against many water-borne pathogens and pollutants and take up to two days to complete. Additionally, EPA will begin to study the effects of storm water runoff, the biggest source of beach contamination. The guaranteed implementation of the standards in each state is contingent upon the passage of the Beach Protection Act in the U.S. Senate, according to Nancy Stoner, Director of NRDC’s Clean Water Project.
Following bipartisan passage in the State Assembly in August, Senate Bill 375 (Steinberg, D-Sacramento), has been sent to the governor’s desk for signature. SB 375, touted as the first bill in the country to connect transportation and land use issues with efforts at addressing climate change, would help the state make strides as it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2020, in accordance with the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). If passed, SB 375 will provide local governments with incentives to undertake smart growth and transportation strategies to combat congestion and improve quality of life for Californian residents and business owners. NRDC and the California League of Conservation Voters are co-sponsors of the bill, and E2 has been actively involved in its progress through the legislature.

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